Fri. Mar 31st, 2023

In <em>Super Time Force</em> travel through time to stop an asteroid from destroying the dinosaurs so someone can finally put Lebron James in the paint.”/><figcaption class=

In Super Time Forcetravel in time to stop an asteroid from destroying the dinosaurs so someone can finally put Lebron James in the paint.

Retro fatigue is finally starting to hit the video game landscape. You may recall that the mid-’00s return to all things pixelated felt refreshing, especially compared to the triple-A plethora of bland, ugly, way-too-brown 3D games at the time. For a while, indie developers used blocky looks to their advantage.

We are officially years away from people like Super Meat Boy And N+; currently, those kinds of games that revert to the old school Are the abundance, often relying on nostalgia to otherwise carry pedestrian game concepts. That makes the statement Super Time Forcea pixel-heavy game where every fiber seems to reek of old Nintendo cartridges, hard to digest.

lucky for us, Super Time Force is the rare retro-obsessed game whose game is way beyond its looks. There’s a high-tech, next-gen mechanic in this action game, no matter how much the drawing team and writing team try to obscure that fact.

In this game, players wake up in a world that has gone to hell the moment a mad scientist discovered time travel in the 1980s. Presumably that’s when people started going back in time and messing things up – gosh, don’t they know the rules?! – but the professor in question also traveled through time and became a bizarre, sly war commander with an army of time-travelling soldiers.

That’s when you’re asked to jump through ages and solve problems, though the game’s ideas of “problems” are kind of silly. Destroy the headquarters of a giant internet company called “Googolplex” to discover the cutest cat video ever; excavate Atlantis and turn it into a tourist resort; find the real Holy Grail to protect Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament.

Let’s do the time warp again

In screenshots, Super Time Force can resemble the 1980s run-and-gun action of series like contra And Metal snail, but the 10+ minute tutorial says otherwise. There’s a technical-manual quality to its spin on the genre, so keep that caveat in mind before you grasp the game’s time-consuming bombast.

You choose from a variety of soldiers – the sniper, the shielded puncher, the, er, dinosaur on a skateboard – then dash through 2D levels with guns blazing. If you get shot, you don’t necessarily lose energy or “lives.” Instead, every time you get killed, you get to rewind time and respawn as any member of your ragtag army, including the one that just died. You reach a maximum of 30 respawns, and you probably won’t run out during a single level. Instead, you’re more likely to run out of time, as each level only gives you 60 seconds to complete.

Elk personage in dit <em>Super Time Force</em>screen, except for the central boss, is a player-controlled character from different times.  Play and rewind a few times to collect a full, simultaneous group of flaming soldiers.” src=”×360.png” width=”640″ height=”360″ srcset=” 2x”/><figcaption class=
Enlarge / Every character in this Super Time Force screen, other than the central boss, is a player-controlled character from different times. Play and rewind a few times to collect a full, simultaneous group of flaming soldiers.

The time-warping gimmick can be activated without being shot too, and you’ll need it to extend the levels’ time limits. For example, use your first soldier to run forward and die in a blaze of glory, then respawn as a faster character who chooses an alternate path to collect timer boosts and other collectibles. Then respawn one second time to quickly waltz through the wreckage laid down by the original soldier. In this scenario, what would have taken a full minute only counts as a few seconds, and each spawned character’s actions count towards your total progress.

And if one of your respawned fighters can prevent one of your past lives from dying, namely by killing its aggressor before its shot goes off, you can touch the past life for a bonus: an extra health point before you die plus the special attack of the dead character. It’s reasonable to send your sniper to her death, then save her ghost and add her wall shooting skills to a melee character’s arsenal. (In many cases this is the only way the shield-carrying character becomes effective.)

Some jokes are… exhausting

The game’s mechanics, and the level-clearing power they enable, are relatively easy to master after the game finishes its lessons, and Capy deserves a lot of credit for making his crazy idea work into a full game. But don’t go into this expecting a cakewalk or casual friendly return to contra. Even without any fear beyond life to speak of, Super Time Force delivers an exciting amount of unique challenge by asking players to juggle time, paths, and character powers to beat levels that would otherwise be impossible.

Meanwhile, the gritty aesthetic might seem like a perfect match for a plot and writing style that lands somewhere halfway between Adventure Time And Bill & Ted’s excellent adventure, but Capy’s art department seems to have missed an opportunity. This studio has already produced beautiful, hand-drawn dishes Criter Crunch And Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, finally. If the game really needed a degraded retro treatment, why not the stilted, corny animation of 80s action cartoons like Thunder cats And GI Joe?

Instead, most of the funny background footage becomes difficult to parse, while the game’s silliest jokes dominate the screen between levels, including a sewer level that asks players to be “drained from the city’s main artery” (ew).

Honestly, the writing and images at hand are not offensive or disappointing. The main problem is the game’s incongruous mix of low-brow presentation and incredibly clever action; each seems to betray the other, but you won’t have long to analyze that gap. Super Time Force keeps an eye on his watch and offers no more than five or six hours of playtime – and that includes doubling down to find the secrets of each level and additional, unlockable fighters and modes.

That’s welcome news for a game whose busy designs, diverse characters and healthy selection of bosses and mini-bosses of the levels are always brimming with good ideas. Nervous gamers would be wise to spend a few hours out and make the most of it Super Time Force’60 second’ challenges.

The good

  • Time travel has been deftly handled to deliver the smartest run-and-gun twist in years.
  • Diverse cast of soldiers is a good match for it STF‘s gigantic roster of bad guys and bosses.
  • You get almost the exact same game whether you choose Xbox 360 or Xbox One.

The bad

  • Capybara Games can make a better cartoon game than this. Bring on more Thunder catsstyle games!

The ugly one

  • While this time-travel trick would probably be impossible to pull off in multiplayer, we’re disappointed that Capybara didn’t come up with a two-player option; this action is too wild and memorable to enjoy alone.

Pronunciation: Buy it, or travel in time to get it in a possible sale.

By akfire1

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