I’m looking at the man in the mirror

It’s difficult to see how Dontnod have managed to find time to work on another new IP this year, having already wrapped up Before the Storm, releasing Vampyr, Adventures of Captain Spirit, and with Life is Strange 2 on the cusp of release. But Twin Mirror sticks to their tried and trusted episodic style, as well as their weird… surreal tone of game.

Unlike the teenage drama that plagues Life is Strange, Twin Mirror puts you in the shoes of an actual adult by the name of Sam. In the demo we played, poor old Sam wakes up without much knowledge of what happened the night before and he when he stumbles upon a bloodied shirt in the bathroom, he naturally begins to freak out a tad.

Dontnod games tend to rely on a few funky mechanics in their games and Twin Mirror is no different. Sam is able to figure out what happened the night before by going into his mind palace, a place where he can then reconstruct memories and understand what’s happened. It’s an interesting idea and one that we’ve seen used in a wholly different way in previous Sherlock Holmes games. Where Sam’s mind palace differs is that it’s a whole other environment for you to explore.

When we went in there the whole place was in a bit of a state, fragments of staircase and others structures floating around as new pathways lead you to where you need to go. It’s a wonderfully realised environment and players who enjoyed the surreal dream sequences of Life is Strange are sure to enjoy the vibe that Sam’s mind palace has in store.

But the similarities between past games and Twin Mirror don’t stop there. From what we saw during the demo, much of the game will be spent interacting with your surroundings more than anything else. All this interaction is linked to the mind palace, with Sam gaining a better understanding of what he did the previous night by examining a crack in the wall, a broken phone, the TV, adding them to the mind palace and then making decisions on what he did with each thing before recreating the event to see how he might’ve played out. It’s an interesting mixture of investigation and puzzle-solving, showing further ingenuity from the developers when it comes to their gameplay. But I have a feeling that it’s a feature whose novelty will wear off pretty quickly as you try to solve these sections as quickly as you can so you can get back to enjoying the story.

And speaking of the story, we didn’t get much to go on what Sam’s will actually be. What we do know is that he seems to be suffering from a bad case of imaginary-frienditus. When he first begins walking to the bathroom, a bespeckled man in a chequered blazer and bow-tie pops out and urges you not to go in. Just who this man is and what his role in the game might be is something we have no answers for. But the relationship between this strange, low-budget Doctor Who cosplayer and Sam is sure to be a central thread throughout Twin Mirror.

The demo ends with the signal of intent that player choice will be a big part of your story with Sam, with the choice of whether or not to take the bloodied shirt with you, with either action giving you the dreaded message that “Your choices will have consequences.” Twin Mirror doesn’t look like it’s going to stray far from the Life is Strange path, offering up a small town setting – which we didn’t see because we were firmly confined to a motel room, a story that relies heavily on its characters and your choices, and a similar indie film vibe. So, it seems like something LiS fans should have earmarked for next year.