Indie developers get to have a great amount of freedom in the games they make. Developer 10tons has constantly made some great games always show how the developer has grown. Time Recoil shows great leaps and bounds when you compare it to past games with amazing time control and music that keeps a killer pace.
In the not too distant past, Europe has succumbed to the evil Mr. Time. In the aftermath of an experiment gone wrong, the player acquires super powers that allows them to slow down time. Armed with these new abilities, this hero is the only one who can thwart Mr. Time and save history. The time frame of the game goes from the late 1970’s to the late 1980’s. Think of Terminator and Back to the Future having a strange lovechild that you can play.
The story jumps around to the point you may have to take notes. In one mission you have to save the life of a scientist or general that could help the rebellion. In that next mission, your actions could change what you accomplished in the last mission. This effectively means you could spend all that time saving one person when a littler later in the game it almost turns out to be a waste of time. I enjoyed the fact that I couldn’t get complacent on what would happen next. The constant twists kept me focused on the game even when I became frustrated with the gameplay.
The game doesn’t actually feature any voice acting. You instead have to read the interactions between the characters. What the game does have is some good techno style music. The music brings back an ’80s vibe with a quick tempo that keeps the pace of how you should play; playing this game at a slow and steady pace won’t get you very far. I actually found myself loading the game and just letting the music play at the main menu. It has been some time since I’ve been able to enjoy doing that.
Time Recoil is a top-down shooter that looks okay. Many of the missions will take place in the same style of rooms with the same color scheme. As you jump back and forth through time, you may notice some dreams occur when you get a “break” after a mission. During these dream sequences, everything changes to black and white -one of the only times you won’t see the same bright colors. I’m not saying the levels are ugly; they just all blend together.
Some levels will include explosives that make everything easier. Those explosions along with the powers you get through the time control part of the game look fantastic. The weapon fire as you’re in slow motion reminds me of the days I spent playing Berzerk on the Atari 2600. The game may look a little blah during your playthough. Just remember, Time Recoil is about survival and not the pretty background.
The gameplay is not as straightforward as you would think. Sure, you get to use different guns that fire at different rates or spray in different ways. Those are the easy parts of the game. Mastering the time control powers is a whole new force of nature. At first you think you have the game beat by learning the dash move. Then they throw in some insane powers that cause you real frustration. The reason behind this is you need to get a certain amount of kills to acqquire these different powers. Depending on your mood or the distractions around you, this can prove to be difficult. I discovered early on that my wife or dog would cause me to die over and over.
Having time travel as part of the main game can be difficult. I found that I was starting to get slightly annoyed when I would go into a mission and cause a completely new outcome.
Not having the chance of surviving more than one shot is the most frustrating thing in this game. You can think you have just about the whole mission finished when one stray bullet will end your life. After I realized this was how the game would be, I forced my way through those agonizing moments. Being able to complete those missions after the many attempts was very satisfying. The Time Attack mode along with the harder modes help give the game some much-needed size.
This game is something that shows how different the developer, 10tons, can be with the same style of game. From Crimsonland to Jydge, they have shown a love for the genre. Still, even though the use of time control is amazing in this game, I found it to be more frustrating than fun. The frustrating part comes when you’re so close to finishing a mission and that one bullet takes you out. This causes you to restart the mission in a pissed mood. However, amidst that frustration I found the joy of completing those missions that I failed at. Only then did I realize how good this game is.