What originally started out as a Steam Greenlight game that we reported on some months back is now a full-fledged game on not just Steam, but the PS4 and XBOX One as well! Time Recoil ($13.99, 10Tons Ltd.) has come a long way since it first was announced. So does this top down run and gun game with a time-traveling twist have what it takes to keep your interest? Is it even good in the slightest…? Let’s dig right into it!
As always, I have a full description of what the game is truly about.
‘Time Recoil is an explosive slow-motion top-down shooter by 10tons – the creators of Crimsonland and Neon Chrome. In Time Recoil the player is given a superpower: Kill to slow time. Killing will enable slowdown and in slowdown, a special move is charged – the more you kill the more grandiose the move. The player starts with a simple dash and ends with a full-time freeze.
Time Recoil is a story of rebellion and revenge. The player is the last hope of a rebel organization who wants to free the world from the grip of an evil mad scientist dictator: Mr. Time. The rebel organization also has a super power: A machine that lets you travel through time. The plan is to first locate Mr. Time and then travel there through time to kill him – before he finds the rebels and destroys them.’
As well as a list of the features:
- ‘Your mission: Locate and kill Mr. Time
- Your superpower: Kill to slow time
- Conduct unbelievable slow motion feats
- Dash through walls, blast them to dust!
- Beat your friends in the speedrun-mode’
And best of all, a sleek trailer for you to gaze upon.
Audio and Soundtrack:
The music seems to be pretty fun throughout my experience with Time Recoil. The game has a nice blend of music to support the run and gun gameplay. I would wager my shiniest shekel that they spent a lot of time and effort to make certain that the music fit the bill. I love how the music seems to say “Okay…GO!” at the beginning of the level and it moves through each level with you. I also like how the music all sounds similar, but there is inherently different music throughout the game. In terms of audio, I think that being in front of the audio, or at least I experienced it that way with surround sound, seemed like it would be okay. When there were any loud sound effects at the same time, it seemed to have an issue with not knowing if it wanted to put the sound in front of or behind the music. Normal sound effects were always on top of the music though. All in all, I had no real issue with the effects as they gave us some effects that we had never heard before in TV, movies, and games. Their time traveling method never existed outside of this game, so I appreciate the new sound that was created for it. 7/10
Usually, top down shooters don’t have the most illustrious visuals. You have to have a lot of moving parts on screen and if anything has lots of details then there is a lot of rendering and possibly lag that the end user experiences. Time Recoil is no exception to that and doesn’t try to hide it. But they do bolster certain aspects that I think other games of this type could definitely learn from. They have tremendous special effects and even though the effects may be on a clearly smaller scale, they just work. There isn’t ever too much on a screen at one time to make it confusing as to who is the target and what is just part of the setting. And the best and most necessary of all that I noticed, is the shadow effects that fall just under or just next to the respective object. Nothing appeared flat, and if I needed to use my peripheral vision to catch a baddie running in on the corner of the screen, the shadow helped inform the corner of my eye if he was standing still, walking, or running. I know it sounds goofy, but you simply cannot look everywhere at once and I used it to my advantage. All in all though, I think they did push everything to its necessary limits and make it work well enough to have a game of this type. I do have one other minor complaint, but its more about the look of things and I talk about that down in the gameplay section. 7/10
Plot and Gameplay:
I might start off this section talking about the plot. There won’t be any spoilers, don’t worry. I just want to talk about what makes a good plot and then I want to talk about if Time Recoil has the right stuff. For a good plot you need riveting characters, grand settings/environments, and the ending has to be worthwhile. I think this game has 2 out of 3 of those qualities. The game features great characters, that talk quick and no time is wasted, but you still get a sense of who they are. You’re never in a scenario when you approach a doctor, for example, to get the information for a task and they just say “Go to that room and do this task.”, no. They give you a little bit of background, they give you your purpose, and some of them you can even tell how they talk by the way the text reads. The best thing about the characters is that even though this game is clearly based around a science fiction topic, the characters still appear believable.
The next thing that the game got right in the plot was the ending having to be worthwhile. Without giving too much away, you have an ending that has some slight surprise, but all in all, you could figure what was going to happen. I’m glad it wasn’t drawn out with endless talking from characters, it just ends nicely. The resolution works for what had transpired up to that point and I didn’t roll my eyes like I do at the ending of other games.
What they “failed” on in terms of the plot was the setting and environments. Now, I know to make the gameplay the same, it had to keep its boxy, mazelike concept. But I just felt so blah about each level. There was never anything exciting about the next place that I visited. They all felt like a reskin or a rehash and a fair amount of the time, it was science labs or offices. So if you’re in this game to be wowed by immersive worlds, as I mentioned in the visuals section, that won’t really happen. But then again, the level design as I said, is necessary. However, there are traps sprinkled about and sometimes the maze effect catches you off guard and you find some clever thing that the developer did, but I’m just a little sad that aesthetically it looks generic and not varied enough for my taste.
But how is the gameplay itself? I love top down shooters and this one is no different. You have elements that only 10Tons LTD could come up with. Like the fact that the remaining bullets show on the reticle. Or how long you can chain your slowed down “focus” mode is just you on your radius at all times. The game is essentially hudless and expects you to pay equal attention to the baddies storming the room and the info just on your person. The time slowing down is the main mechanic of the game though. There are no other real time abilities that you have. Will we see some DLC to expand on our time powers? I really hope so because all in all I certainly didn’t feel like I used the power all that often. Truth be told, I probably played more of the game with the challenge of not using the time powers. 7/10
The game isn’t terribly long even if you do things the long way like me. I never used the time abilities, I think you’ll find that it’s only a 4 hour long game. You may even beat it in one sitting if you try hard enough. Can you extend the game outside of those 4 hours though? Yes and no. You could play through the game again and try to 3 star every level. That’s of course assuming you didn’t try to do that on your first play through. There are of course leaderboards so if you have a friend who keeps challenging your respective score. You can go back and try to beat theirs, or anyone elses for that matter. And if you remember, there is also a Speedrun mode. I would say though that it would be hard to find anyone who wants to challenge you there. Speedrunners themselves are few and far between in the average, everyday gaming space. But if you do find one, that most likely that means that they’re more than professional at it than you. But who knows. All in all, it’s hard to find reasons to keep playing this game outside of the first few days. And I mean just short of loving it and playing it over and agin. 5/10
Nintendo Switch Impressions:
Everything that I talked about above holds true, plus some Switch specific aspects. This game does suffer a bit from what it’s brothers (Jydge, Neon Chrome) suffer from on the Switch. Since it at it’s most simplified genre explanation, a twin-stick shooter, Time Recoil has to have a lot of elements on screen at once. While this is great and challenging gameplay, you still get a lot of issues playing this game on the go. Now, I don’t mean that the system can’t handle lots of assets on the screen at once because it can. What I mean is that it makes it harder to tell what’s what all at once. If the screen size was smaller, your eyes could look at the entire screen at one time and see everything. Since the Switch’s screen is larger, seeing all of the moving pieces at once is downright impossible. Combine this with the fact that you have to watch the protagonist’s reticle to see how much ammo you have and you have a combination for disaster.
Does that mean that this game is bad? No, not by a long shot. It’s still a decent game as I mentioned above and is still worth your money. Heck, while in docked mode you’re still getting the same version that the PS4 and XBOX One are getting. Does that mean it’s a cool game to take on the go with you? That part I would say is debatable as some people may not find it to be as big of a deal as I do. Or maybe it’s the inverse, maybe some people welcome the challenge. However, I don’t personally like my eyes watering and getting tired after 10 minutes of gameplay (unless I’m playing Tetris, the only acceptable game for my eyes to burn during). If you do want to play it on the go, do yourself a favor and use headphones. As I said before, the soundtrack is pretty decent and it isn’t something you can hear terribly well if you have to have your volume down while out in public. If I were to give the Switch version a score, I would give it a high merit for giving you a challenging console experience on a handheld device. It still has that great soundtrack that kicks butt and keeps you amped up. It does suffer from the Switch’s weak speakers and tiny objects on screen when on the go. 7/10
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