(PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox) TWIN MIRROR is the most recent game from LIFE IS STRANGE developer Don’t Nod, and it certainly feels like one. It’s yet another narrative-forward interactive adventure game focused on character interactions, dialogue branches, story-changing decisions, escapism and fantasy via superhero elements, and traumatic deaths.
In fact, it eeriely mirrors the first LIFE IS STRANGE game in a number of narrative and mechanical ways, even down to the protagonist having ghosted their best friend for years, then returning to their hometown, and it essentially recreates the ‘high school dream sequence’ Max endures where you’re endlessly walking through hallways and doors.
While it doesn’t take place in the Pacific Northwest, it does take place in rural West Virginia, and even features similar sequences from LIFE IS STRANGE 2 such as road and forest exploration, as well as looking after a plucky but rebellious youth.
So, you could say Don’t Nod have more than a house style; they have a house template.
Let me rewind a bit.
TWIN MIRROR features middle-aged ex-investigative journalist washout Sam Higgs who, after being rebuffed by a marriage proposal to his co-worker Anna, abandoned his hometown after penning an expose of the town’s central mining industry, causing them to shutter and forcing many folks out of work.
He returns two years later to attend the funeral of his prior best friend and co-journalist Nick, who appears to have died in a car crash. Matters escalate, and dramatic intrigue sets in, and Sam only has Anna and a mysterious other to help him sort matters out.
What results is something that feels like an odd fusion of LIFE IS STRANGE, recent SILENT HILL games, and the Frogware Sherlock Holmes games. As mentioned earlier, it borrows a lot from LIFE IS STRANGE, but the bland, middle-aged protagonist, mining town, and guilt-obsession and illusionary characters feels very SILENT HILL, and the deduction puzzles are very Frogware. (Hell, they even include ‘Mind Palaces’.)
So, yeah, it’s an amalgamation that is perfect for me as I love all of those games, but perhaps not for everyone else.
Sadly, if you’re expecting the quirky, queer characters as seen in LIFE IS STRANGE, you should look elsewhere. These characters are straight archetypes; all older angst and repression. However, if you enjoy murder mysteries and adventure games, it’s a well-developed work.