And Then There Were Physics: Twin Sector

With Portal being so successful I had rather expected there to be a load of first-person puzzlers to come along in its wake. We’ve had few glimpses of its influence here and there, but I do wonder whether Twin Sector is the next game that could truly be seen as a first-person puzzler in the style of Valve’s comedy space-bender. Set inside a cryogenic containment facility where things have gone rather wrong, Twin Sector tasks you with using the power of physics to enable your female protagonist to fix a wonky reactor. You will, naturally, need to figure out what else is down there in the techno-tombs with you, and why it wishes to foil your efforts. Happily the guiding voice of a helpful AI is there to help you jump through the hoops.

Assuming independent German devs Headup can pull off the physics puzzles satisfactorily, this could be a great game, as well as a splendid tech-demo for the Havok physics systems on which it is based. Twin Sector is reportedly out next month, and the trailer is entombed below.


  1. Theory says:

    They should have used Microsoft Sam for the computer’s voice. That would have been unbelievably cool.

  2. Dead Fish says:

    Well, the trailer shows nothing that the Gravity Gun or Bioshock’s Telekinesis Plasmid hasn’t done before.

  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    Nothing new in terms of the systems, but it’ll be whether the puzzles are any good that will matter.

  4. LionsPhil says:

    Eee. It seems to be trying to be “serious”. And it’s not very good at it.

    (P.S. RPS: your ads have all gone blue.)

  5. dsvoid says:

    Looks fun, but damn, they need cooler voice acting.

  6. Saul says:

    Voices are a bit awkward, but it could be good.

  7. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    Wow, the woman’s voice acting sounds really… forced. Looks like fun though.

  8. diebroken says:

    Hmm, akimbo powergloves… intriguing. =]

  9. Yargh says:

    that helpful AI better backstab you at one point, it would be a bad idea to give people the wrong idea about benevolent AIs after all…

  10. Nighthood says:

    Looks pretty cool. Like portal without the portals.

  11. dufake says:

    His voice sounds totally unlike in thin air.

  12. ZeeKat says:

    Screw Portal ripoffs, I want new Penumbra.

  13. Metal_Circus says:

    Interesting, funny voices too.

  14. Richard Beer says:

    Portal without the portals is a bad thing, though, isn’t it? Hopefully it’ll have something instead that hasn’t also been stolen from somewhere else. [/cynic]

  15. l1ddl3monkey says:

    I’m almost certain that “Oscar” was also the voice of the Union Aerospace Corporation videos in Doom 3.

    This will either be entertaining or an enormous plate of cheese. On the strength of the trailer I’m leaning towards the cheese.

  16. The Fanciest of Pants says:

    Havok isn’t really in need of a tech demo though, surely. I mean, it’s been around for ages.

    Source uses it, for one.

    On topic: one to watch, woo indie.

  17. JonFitt says:

    So it’s “Gravity Gun: The Game” where they’ve added push to pull. Could be good if it’s not horribly scripted/acted.

  18. Clovus says:

    @ZeeKat: Ya, Penumbra really shows how much better Adventure Games can be if they use physics. Instead of boring pixel hunts you get to actually rummage around: open drawers, knock things over, turn things upside down. Then there are the straight forward physics puzzles: moving cranes, building bridges/ladders with stacks of junk, etc. Combine this with standard AG stuff like… er… combining things, and you have a great genre.

    Unfortunately, whether it is in first person or third person, the controls are, apparently, too complicated for the average Adventure Gamer. There’s just not enough physics puzzlers being made. I don’t think the audience is big enough once the FPS and AG stuff is combined. Portal did well as a weird FPS, not an AG.

  19. Daniel Klein says:

    Hm, that was a gloriously underwhelming trailer. Hey look! We have a super generic story with dialogue written by monkeys that have had their simian creativity surgically removed! We also have a tired gravity gun gimmick and dark, empty corridors!

    Uh, pass.

  20. Vinraith says:

    If the puzzles are good it might be fun anyway, but that’s some pretty crappy voice acting in that trailer. I don’t get the impression the story is anything extra either.

  21. Bret says:

    You know, what does it say about the history of AI buddies in PC games that the only one who doesn’t backstab you that I can think of is a lunatic who started the whole mess you’re in in the first place as part of a quest to attain godhood?

  22. Martin Edelius says:

    I’m in!

  23. Alex says:

    Aside from the gravity gun bits, the footage reminded me of the gravity/orientation puzzles in Prey more than anything else.

  24. Adrian says:

    well i have to say that portal also didn’t invent the uh portals… it was done in various games before. so arguing about nothing new in this game is wrong! what really matters are the puzzles

  25. ZIGS says:

    ZeeKat says:

    Screw Portal ripoffs, I want new Penumbra.

    You are now my favorite person on the internet

  26. SteveHatesYou says:

    They’re clearly taking a lot of influence from Portal, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Hopefully it turns out well – I’m always up for a good puzzle game.

  27. roBurky says:

    Everyone did notice the way the blue right-hand glove was used to change the direction of gravity and walk on walls, didn’t they?

  28. DMJ says:

    Tentative approval so far. Bring on the physics clones. All a game needs is one good idea done well, and with passion.

  29. ZeeKat says:

    Clovus: Penumbras are among the best games I’ve ever played, it’s amazing to be able to actually interact with adventure game’s world instead of just clicking on predefined triggers and observing when another part of script is rolling out. Closest to “virtual reality” than anything IMO. Shame that no one else want to make such games, we have to wait for another Frictional Games production I guess – hope it will be at least as good as two first Penumbras (third one was kinda meh in storytelling department).

    Can’t understand how such smart and fun games rot in obscurity, by the way. Unlocking first hatch alone in Penumbra: Overture was more satysfying than blasting half of Capital Wastes in Fallout 3 :)

  30. Dominic White says:

    If there’s an original German voice-track, I’d love to hear it. In cases like this, the developers native language sounds way, way better than whatever budget-price voicework they could get for the english dub.

  31. ExcaliburXVII says:

    Still can’t watch HD videos. I’m running Vista x64.

  32. Jim Rossignol says:

    I don’t think this has an HD version, actually. The vid player needs to make that more clear.