A lesson learned In TIME
If I could turn back TIME, if I could find a way, I’d probably not be writing this with a hangover. I’d go back in TIME and tell myself to stay in rather than go down to the local pub, but alas I’ve tumbled out of bed and stumbled to the kitchen, poured myself a cup of ambition…. Er, I mean tea…. All this wibbly wobbly TIMEy wimey stuff is really starting to take its toll on me.
If however I’d been a part of the Super TIME Force, the solution to my hangover would be far more interesting. Colonel Repeatski would probably send the team back to the emergence of homo-sapiens and get the locals sloshed on a home-brew of wild berries and mammoth spit. All in an attempt to alter human evolution so we don’t get hangovers. In the process, our for-bearer’s would be so sloshed, that Apes would wind up being the dominant species. The Human race would end up performing tea parties in zoo’s and Donkey Kong would be a very different game.
At its most basic and therefore explainable, Super TIME Force is a retro side scrolling shooter. Each member of the Super-Temporal-Infinite-Manipulation-Expert-Force has a unique basic attack along with a special one. Ricochet shots, three way fire, shield abilities, it’s standard old school shooty tropes that work just great. After completing the training missions, I thought I’d got it all covered. It’s not until running through the first proper level that I realised the game was anything but simple! I was left shaking and confused as to what I had accomplished, it was a complete assault on my senses, made me think about what I was doing more than any side scrolling shooter should, and immediately after taking a few deep breaths, I wanted to dive back in for more.
TIME and TIME again
Here comes the science bit, concentrate. You have only a set amount of TIME to complete each level, generally around the 60 second mark. Sounds simple, right? Well playing each level can take anything from 10 minutes to half an hour. Still with me? In a game play twist that completely messes with the Temporal Prime Directive, you can go backward in TIME and spawn a new character that fights alongside the character you were previously controlling. You can do this up to 30 TIMEs, and believe me you’ll probably need to!
As an example, you come across a door you need to blow up? With one character this can take quite a few precious seconds, so as the door blows, you use the TIME rewind jiggery pokery, spawn in another player and both your new character and your previous incarnation can then take the door down in half the TIME. Simples. If you end up dying, hit the rewind button, spawn in another character and then take out the bad guy before he took out your previous self, you can then walk over the spot where you died and your current character then takes on extra firepower and a shield worth one hit.
Its astounding; TIME is fleeting
I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that at first appears so simple, it’s easy to control and generally great to play. Yet it really makes you think, offers true head scratching conundrums and gives you one of the greatest senses of accomplishment found in video games ever. I can only imagine the psychedelic, consciousness altering drugs the developers must have been on when they dreamt up this game, or maybe they are just truly crazy! The fact that they have executed the game in such a fantastic way speaks volumes regardless.
The game also looks and sounds great. The graphics are retro yet still modern and clean. I truly thought I’d had enough of the pixel-art retro style, but this TIME it just goes to show that done well, It still has the wow factor. Music is also fantastic and there are a few hooks that stick in my mind days after playing. The best moments are undoubtedly the replays that you get after completing a level. The 20 or so minutes that you’ve spent skipping backwards and forwards in TIME are all condensed into the 60 seconds that you had to complete the level. Up to 30 instances of your characters, unleashing an apocalyptic amount of firepower on the screen is absolute pandemonium.
TIME is standing still
Six distinct worlds in different TIME periods, each with several different levels will take you a good few hours to complete. The objectives range from going into the future to download all the computer updates, so you can spend your downTIME having megalols at internet cat videos, to retrieving the Holy Grail so your favourite restaurant chain doesn’t go out of business. Truly bonkers stuff. The game doesn’t really end there. Unlockable characters, hidden collectibles, medals, secret levels, rock hard achievements not to mention the leaderboards and the potential for speed runs. The game offers quite a bit of content, and in all it’s pretty good value for money at £11.99, although I would have liked to see it hit the £9.99 mark.
With nods to all the old 80’s throwbacks, from Pong, Dirty Harry, Rambo and much much more. Gamers or an older vintage will find lots to make them smile. For everyone else the gameplay is just as great even if the 80’s kitsch will pass them by. It’s charming, fun and as challenging as you want it to be. With the game available on both the Xbox One and the Xbox 360, the only difference between the versions is the ability to record your end of level replays on the newer hardware.
Hit me baby one more TIME
Little must the developers- Capy Games have known, that this idea, that started life at a local game jam and was developed as a side project would become a focal point and a great example of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox indie program. With Capy off to a flying start, I’m looking forward to seeing what they have lined up next. Who knows we may even get a 90’s set sequel, personally I’d love to see some DLC where you have to stop Don Mattrick from ever working for Microsoft again. Knowing Super TIME Force, it would probably involve sterilising Don Mattrick’s ancestors, which would undoubtedly go wrong and leave the good old USA in some dire straits.
Some minor control issues with aiming at the diagonal, and the £11.99 price for the content that is included are the only thing that stops this game from earning a 10/10 from me. Whilst digital prices on consoles are generally high all round. £9.99 would have been the perfect price, especially considering the way that Xbox Live gift cards work. If you don’t have access to a credit card or Paypal then you’re going to have to buy a £15 card for this one game alone. Shooting on the diagonal can be rather a pain, and it has been brought up on forums around the web, you never know in TIME it may get patched. At the moment it’s merely an annoyance rather than game breaking.
Available at TIME of writing on Xbox 360 and Xbox One via the Xbox Live Marketplace