Have a friend or special other who you frequently play co-op games with? I challenge you to give TwinCop a try.
It’s a twin-stick shooter with a difference. A co-operative game with only one character, you and another player each take control of one half of their body. That means co-ordinating your movements in the same direction, shooting at the same time, and generally working together to stay alive and expel enemies.
It’s a hilarious concept, and one that’s sure to provide plenty of laughs for you and your co-op buddy when you first begin. It’s easy enough to yell a direction to each other and ensure you move towards the same goal. Shooting isn’t too bad either; in control of one arm each, you can aim independently, but if you want to do the most damage to an enemy, you’ll both want to shoot together.
The difficulty starts to pile up soon into the game, when you’re asked to navigate narrow beams where one wrong misstep will send you plummeting to your death. Not long after, you’ll have to carefully time movements through deadly laser beams and dash past heavy machinery that’s ready to crush you. If one of you fails to stop moving in time, it’s game over. Similarly, fighting multiple enemies at once can be tricky. There’s a special ability to activate – but only if you can both press a specific button at the same time. And if you don’t move around the battlefield together, synchronising your movements to dodge incoming attacks, you’re not going to last long at all.
Needless to say, conversation might get a little heated between you and your compadre when things start going wrong. Communication is key, but TwinCop is also pretty unforgiving when it comes to making mistakes. One particular section sees you running through a burning building, debris falling around you. Step in the wrong direction and that debris will fall on you, instantly killing you. Or walk too close to the edge of the room and it may fall right next to you, blocking you in.
Rich and I played TwinCop for around an hour and half, getting to the end of its long-ass second level, our relationship just about intact. We’re pretty in sync most of the time, but being half of the same person? It’s hard work. Our natural instincts to dodge enemies often had us tussling in opposite directions. My over-cautiousness on passing through laser beams and crushers meant we never got anywhere. “Just going for it” resulted in a lot of deaths.
I was left feeling like a bit of a failure. But then TwinCop lightened the mood by opening up a ‘conversation’ scene. Unrelated to the game in any way, it let the two of us converse by making sentences out of random words. “This game is not control,” one of us said, cryptically (or literally?). “Cats are cute right,” another said. Truly stirring sentiments you’ll agree, but it at least put a smile back on our faces after the stress of escaping a burning building.
I wouldn’t recommend playing TwinCop with anyone but your nearest and dearest. It’s worth a go, if only for the challenge of seeing how well you can communicate. Because it is key. If you give up and sulk like I did, you won’t get very far at all.