Review: Link Twin

Link Twin by Lorraine Studio is a delightful variant of sokoban in which you control two characters instead of one (they always move as one — even when separated), and the outer borders have been removed, so you can fall off the board, which means instant death and reset. There are also a couple of additions like teleporting between separate boards and a rudimentary story to make the game stand on its own.
There are versions for both phone and PC, but I played only the PC version. The puzzles slowly increase in difficulty and up to three stars can be earned for each, depending on how many moves you need to complete it, so there is potential replayability if you want all of them.

Everything (for the most part) is well executed and looks stylish. None of the puzzle mechanisms used felt particularly new, but the combination of them still felt fresh. Don’t expect too much from the story; it’s nice, but also a bit of a trifle. The two main characters, Tom & Lily, are adorable, though. All in all, it’s a pleasant game for when you want to kill some time and you can probably get a few hours out of it (I finished it in 7 (including going back for more stars and achievements)).

The controls are intuitive and the mechanics simple, but effective. Like in sokoban, you move around on a tiled board (via WASD or the arrow keys) and have to reach two specially marked tiles. Spheres can be pushed, but the boxes are fixed. There are no borders, so both spheres and your characters can fall off, in which case you will have to start over again. Levers and buttons must sometimes be pulled or pushed. The concept is simple, but lends itself to pretty complex situations.
There is a spoil system if you get really stuck, but you can use it only a limited number of times, and it does right out tell you the solution, so beware of that before you use it. For the more challenging puzzles you will have to think ahead any number of steps, but actions can be undone or reset at any time, so you don’t have to worry about anything being final. A solved puzzle can also be returned to if you want to improve your score and get more stars.
For a casual game, the puzzles still managed to get pretty challenging once I got to the the last chapter.

Our adorable couple, Tom & Lily, clearly love each other and hold hands whenever they get close, resulting in giggles, teasing, and the weakening of knees; it really is as cute as it sounds — but they also quarrel from time to time, which is where the story comes in:
The game is divided into several chapters and the story is revealed at the start of each, but this, with very few exceptions, is the only time the story is being added to. Nothing in how Tom & Lily behave or interact on a puzzle board reflects the story; they always look happy and care-free, so the story becomes not much more than shallow filler for me. Any connection I could have felt was never allowed to bloom, because of how few and far between the storytelling parts are.
One could argue that this is a puzzle game, so the story doesn’t matter that much, but now that a story has actually been added, why not do something more with it and let us connect more with the characters, because the story does have potential. The way the two characters separate or re-connect on a board could be seen as symbolic, and the background does change for each chapter — reflecting the current mood I suppose — so that is a good start.

The only real annoyance I had was when replaying to get more stars: The way level select works forces me to flip through all chapters every time I want to switch to another level. I also had to wait for the level select menu animation to finish every time before any interaction was possible, which made the chapter flipping even more annoying. Not a major complaint, though; just an annoyance.

So, Link Twin is a moderately challenging puzzle game with a stylish look, intuitive controls, and excellently executed mechanics. The characters you control are adorable, but the story as a whole didn’t matter much — as perhaps expected from a game meant only as a casual distraction. It was nice while it lasted, but forgettable once it ended.

Game’s website