Super Time Force
Super Temporal Inevitability Manipulation Experts Force is not just a catchy title it is also a clue to the nature of this game. It will have you bouncing around in time killing robots, dinosaurs and other nasties with reckless abandon. Putting right all the wrongs of history! Or perhaps putting wrong all the rights of history it’s hard to know for sure… whilst subjecting you to some appallingly brilliant 8-bit graphics, ridiculous humour and a game play twist that takes this game from a pretty average retro side scrolling shooter to the cusp of being a must have game with surprising strategic depth.
Not bad for a $20 Arcade title then.
There are really only two topics of note when talking about Super T.I.M.E. Force; the love em or hate em 8-bit graphics and the ability to warp time. Apart from those everything else is pretty standard fare. Don’t get me wrong it is well executed, the scripting is great, there are plenty of Super Temporal Inevitability Manipulation Experts Force Warriors to unlock and they all have different abilities Levels are well thought out in length, variety and difficulty with the traditional combination of platforming stages and boss fights. Equally authentic is the difficulty of shooting on an angle and there are plenty of hidden areas to take you away from the main goal of the stage. So the basics are good but once you add in the graphics and Time Out the good becomes great.
“Time Out” took me a little while to get my head around. The tutorial tries to teach this but I totally missed the point and so failed the first boss fight over and over again before I went in search of help online. A hint about using Shieldy Blockerson (All the characters have superb names, Aimy McKillan is another favourite) to create safe points before rewinding and playing the level again was all it took and once I got it sorted I couldn’t believe how the game comes alive! It becomes a frantic fire-storm of action because when you die or voluntarily Time Out you start another run through alongside the first character and the mayhem you have already created. So what at first seems a simple side scrolling shooter against the clock develops a whole new layer of strategy. Every character running around is another play through layered on top of the previous one. Its not always as simple as playing it twice or three times to increase your fire power to clear a section, you have to move quicker and further to get the level finished so you frequently leave the early attempts behind and sometimes just have to accept you’ve done as well as you can and get moving.
The other unique feature of Super T.I.M.E. Force is the graphics. Initially I really enjoyed them and was teleported back in time 20 years to a kinder, gentler age when characters didn’t speak, villains didn’t bleed and I didn’t have 4 children (and it was nice to not hit pause when my kids came into the room so they didn’t see something they shouldn’t) But after the initial amusement had passed and I was back in the present where huge, realistic 3D environments are possible I realised there is a reason computers and games kept developing. I genuinely believe this game would be better if it was made with modern, simple graphics. I understand it is a point of difference and probably I wouldn’t have played this game if not for that 8-bit twist but I found the graphics kept jarring me out of the moment. If this game came on a few 1.44mb floppy disks or ran on my phone I would be impressed but somehow they’ve managed to take up 800mb and require the most powerful consoles ever made to look like The Secret of Monkey Island. Don’t get me wrong, the graphics are not bad or badly implemented but after the initial amusement had passed they just don’t have much to recommend them. Clearer character models would be more pleasing on the eye and would have allowed me to immerse myself more fully into the game but that is a small gripe and many people will disagree with me.
Overall this is an extremely fun and frantic game. Microsoft is often criticised for its lack of support for Indie developers but if this is a sign of what’s to come the future (past and present) looks bright provided the Super Temporal Inevitability Manipulation Experts Force doesn’t come along and screw it all up!
Reviewed on: XBox One
Reviewed by: Aaron