Review by horror_spooky
No TIME for this
Super TIME Force is a game that I was heavily anticipating for Xbox One. I was even more excited when Microsoft announced it as one of the free Games with Gold. After having played it, all I can say is that I am glad that I was able to download it for free, because if I had paid money for this, I would've came away with extreme buyer's remorse.
Super TIME Force is a gimmicky indie game with a unique, retro art style. Sound familiar? That's because pretty much all indie games nowadays follow this basic formula. The developers seem to think of an art style and tone first, think of one major gimmick to hook their game, and then attempt to build a full game around these materials.
Capybara Games, the people behind Super TIME Force, are talented people. I have thoroughly enjoyed many of their other games. And so that's why it saddens me to see such a misstep here. Basically, the premise of Super TIME Force is that players have a set amount of time to complete levels, and they have to manipulate time using characters with various powers in order to get through the levels alive. The levels themselves are laid out like puzzles.
Ultimately, the time constraints actually ruin the game. I can't believe I'm saying this, but as a straight-up shooter, this would've been a lot more interesting. As it stands, combining the time mechanics with the fact that you have to constantly switch between characters just makes the game feel slow as hell. The levels just feel like giant trial and error trials that aren't very fun to engage with.
The humor in the game also falls completely flat on its face. They were trying way too hard with this. There are a couple of time-travel related jokes that land, but the story itself is brought down by an opening that is one of the most boring openings I've ever experienced in gaming coupled with the fact that the plot itself is hardly all that important anyway.
I will say that the levels do have a lot of variety and the characters themselves are all very interesting and well-designed. It's just that the core gameplay is not very fun. It works. It's functional. I get the idea and I get where they were going with it, but it just didn't engage me. I often found myself wanting to get up and do something else the entire time that I was playing it.
The art style is goofy and charming, but at this point, that's just what I expect out of indie games. Due to the art style, it doesn't even come close to touching the power of the Xbox One. Hell, the game is a cross-gen title anyway, meaning that it is available on the Xbox 360 as well. The only real difference between the two versions is that there are more achievements to unlock in the Xbox One version of the game.
Super TIME Force was extremely disappointing for me. I had anticipated the game for months, as on paper, the idea just sounds awesome. However, the execution is not quite there, and the game is just not very fun to play. Capybara is capable of so much more, and you can't knock on them for experimenting, but this is really a failed experiment in game design.
Product Release: Super Time Force (US, 05/14/14)
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