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OSHA clearly hasn’t visited this tower construction site.
Long absent from his Mac roots, the Prince returns for the first time since 1994’s Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame. In that time, the series has evolved from side-scrolling swordplay and acrobatics into a 3D circus, full of parkour-inspired stunts. Two Thrones was originally released for PCs and consoles in 2005, and other than some graphical glitches that haven’t aged well, the kinetic title holds its own against current Mac games. The two-fisted combination of swordplay and stunts never disappoints.
Instead of the original’s touchy controls, Two Thrones rewards experimentation by helping you along. The game gently guides you on huge leaps between ledges, keeping the movement fast instead of punishing you for imperfect input. The Prince scurries laterally along walls, runs straight up corners into backflips, dangles off overhangs, and otherwise keeps his feet moving. The controls gradually build until you’re comfortable vaulting off nearly anything, giving players a sense of accomplishment. Be warned that a gamepad with two analog-style joysticks is practically required—you won’t get far using a keyboard and mouse.
We enjoyed moving through 3D puzzles, but frequent fights add to the fluid style. Instead of just swinging swords and blocking against frequently appearing monsters, you’ll launch them off walls, deploy elaborate two-handed combination attacks, and even vault over enemies to swipe from behind. The Prince is Buster Keaton as he’s busting heads. Superpowers add a little of The Matrix, letting you occasionally slow down or rewind time. And while it’s cartoonish, Two Thrones earns its Mature rating, since this often-violent movement is its centerpiece.
The physicality in Two Thrones excels, but we were still disappointed by bugs and technical issues. The graphics are sufficient, but lack depth—you won’t find any nuanced shadows or textures that are common in other games. In a few cutscenes, the love interest’s hands are even comically shaped like mittens, pulling us out of the moment. Occasional sound issues play garbled audio, and the Prince got stuck in a wall a couple times in our games, freed only by quitting. Worst of all, even on a powerful Mac Pro, the game’s framerates slowed at times, often with lots of action onscreen.Two Thrones introduces the Prince of Persia to a new generation of Mac gamers. The kinesthetic heir to the kingdom takes a flying leap into our hearts.