Super Time Force released on Xbox 360 and Xbox One and offers some compelling shooting action with a time based twist. I’ve been tasked with reviewing this game and despite not being so keen on the 8 bit looks found something that is quite enjoyable. Is it a game for every gamers taste, no. But it is a fun filled ride if you’re looking to waste a few hours here and there and require something less taxing.
Super Time Force opens with a lengthy text based intro which sets the tone of the game pretty well. Time manipulation has been invented but something has gone wrong and evil robots and such like have invaded earth creating an alternate universe. Luckily players can join the Super Time Force and travel through the ages to kill and fix the problems which in a nutshell is an excuse to use several characters to kick butt.
Players start out with the basic squad of characters with more being saved during missions. Each character has their own attack strengths and weaknesses which means you’ve got to constantly swap between them to succeed. The biggest gameplay element which separates the game from its shooter peers is the fact that every time you die or at the press of a button time can be rewound and a section – or the entire level – can be replayed. Thee twist here is that your previous character remains whilst you respawn in as another or the same character resulting in extra attack power. Rather than simply be a gimmick, the game by design uses this feature and is meant to be used to take on the many weird and wonderful opponents. For example at many points during the game there are boss encounters which when facing as a single character are pretty tough. Once I had died a few times and respawned more characters our combined attacks took down the boss with relative ease. This theme carries through the entire game across several themed time periods and for the most part works well despite being a little confusing at first. To throw a spanner in the works there’s a time limit for each level and a set number of times you can rewind time, although handily there are collectibles that can increase the time and such like if you spend the valuable time looking for them.
I found the game to be quite challenging and despite my best efforts to get through the game with a fair pace, I did come a cropper a number of times due to simply running out of time. I even rewound time back to the start of the levels sometimes just to claw back some of the time lost by jumping and missing. This was my biggest gripe with the controls where death came all too often due to a lack of sensitivity with my button presses. Also due to the mass of pixels on screen at any given time it became hard to see what was actually happening on occasion resulting in more deaths and rewinding time. This wouldn’t have been an issue had the rewind option be limited to a set number. Aside from this aspect I found the gameplay to be quite fun and engrossing although I did get frustrated a number of times due to said issues with the button presses.
Super Time Force harks back to the old 8 bit days with its looks and is only going to appeal to old school gamers who “get” what developers Capy were gunning for. It’s a simple looking game and not something that is going to appeal to Xbox One graphics whores. If you can ignore the basic looks and view them as charming, then you’ll find some joy with the overall vibe on offer. I’m a bit indifferent here and simply found them to be functional and lacking in overall detail which I would have preferred more attention to detail.
The audio offers a killer soundtrack of old school sounding tunes and effects which well suit the overall tone although the lack of any voice acting is a bit of a let down and made the game feel flat. I would have liked to see more effort placed in this area, given the amount of text speech bubbles present, but I understand the game was made on a small budget. Heck, the developers could have used their own voices, but then I might have complained about the poor voice acting. So, be prepared for reading lots, or simply skipping through the moments where there’s some explanation of events.
I found Super Time Force to be an interesting game and one that raised my blood pressure due to moments of difficulty among some cheap deaths and a cluttering of the screen. The element of time is quirky and well used here which has to applauded for its originality. That said, I would wager this is going to be an acquired taste and likable for those who love old school shooters and want to spend half an hour gaming rather than a marathon session. In this regard the game succeeds in offering some solid entertainment, but is drenched in simple looks and a lack of audio which might turn off those expecting more from Xbox One (not so much on the Xbox 360). I can recommend the game to the old school, but suggest avoiding if you’re very much born from games of the current generation.
Score 7.5/10 – Review by Jamie Simmons
Review code supplied by Xbox.