|Super Time Force Review|
A few years ago, I played Capybara Games’ fantastic musical adventure, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and have been following them keenly ever since. I am still waiting patiently for their similar game, Below, but in the meantime, I was more than happy to play their more recent and silly title, Super Time Force.
This game was originally exclusive to the Microsoft consoles, XBox 360 and XBox One but in time did come to PC (with the suffix Ultra and some extras) and is slated to come to PS3 and PS4 sometime in 2015. But I could not contain my excitement and wait for the PC version, so for the purposes of this review, I played the XBLA version on XBox 360.
The basic premise of Super Time Force is just as it sounds. You are a time travelling special forces unit that visits various periods in history sometimes to prevent catastrophes and sometimes just to fix minor inconveniences like browser updates. The plot line is just an excuse to go side-scrolling through history blasting apart bad guys and using time travel. There are a variety of characters for you to use and unlock and each has their own special skills such as extreme fire-power, ricocheting shots, blocking ability, explosives and so on. While there are a good variety of characters and powers, I was able to go through almost the entire game using just the explosives expert. Perhaps the other characters would be more necessary in harder difficulties and such but in a straight run of the normal game they are not terribly necessary.
The art and writing style are one of the main appeals of the game with the pixel art being extremely detailed and well together. The many one liners, catchphrases and pop culture references that come from your commander help to keep things light and are quite genuinely funny without ever feeling too forced.
As you can probably guess from the name of the game, the main mechanic is that of time travel. Despite being a single player game, it is widely touted to be a single player co-op game. The reason behind this is that you can rewind time any time you die (or just any time at will) which creates a clone of yourself. If you can stop your previous self from dying by killing whatever killed him first, then he will continue to live in a paradoxical time situation and continue to run along with you aiding you in the fight until he dies again. Employing this mechanic, you can have multiple versions of yourself on screen at once repeating your previous movements and attacks and then carrying them on as best as they can. Most levels have a short time limit so using this mechanic to keep improving your “team’s” performance to get through the level faster is crucial. While this is fun and useful in the side scrolling levels, the real stars of this game are the boss fights. Most of these will only have a one minute time limit so you must spawn many copies of yourself to be able to kill these beasts within their short time limits.
For a while, I was having difficulty figuring out how to best manipulate the time mechanics towards victory, especially in these very time limited boss fights. I was trying to use rewinds to get as much damage in as possible in real time. It wasn’t until it clicked that I had to maximise the killing potential of each rewind (because the number you have is limited) by rewinding to the start of the boss fight each time and doing as much damage as possible before dying and rewinding again that I started to have an easier time killing these bosses. Once you have defeated each boss, you are treated to seeing the fight in real time which shows the chaos of multiple copies of yourself spawning and fighting and dying over and over again within sixty seconds creating your very own personal bullet hell to rain down upon the huge bosses. The sheer chaos of these fights in real time makes you glad that the time travel mechanic exists and slows it down for you making it more manageable.
Super Time Force Review Summary
I was expecting to like Super Time Force but it easily passed my expectations with its great use of humour and excellently implemented time travel cloning mechanic which makes it possible for mere mortals to unleash absolute clone terror over and over again in a highly satisfying manner that makes you go “whoa, did I do that?” once the dust has settled. This is an easy recommendation to make to anyone but will be of particular appeal to fans of side-scrolling shooters and classic bullet hell shooters
Final Score: 4/5
Let’s Play Footage of Super Time Force