Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360
Developer: Capybara Games
Publisher: Capybara Games
Reviewed on Xbox One.
Review code courtesy of Capybara Games, thanks from OnlySP.
Xbox One owners finally have a real indie title to sink their teeth into with Super Time Force – one of the first games to be published through Microsoft’s ID@Xbox programme. The game is developed by independent developer Capybara Games, and ensures that ID@Xbox kicks off to a great start.
You control the members of the Super Time Force – a group of time travelling mercenaries – as they undertake various missions under the direction of Colonel Repeatski. These missions are packed with variety, highlights of which include saving the Dinosaurs from extinction and travelling to 1,000,000 B.C. While the story is there, it’s nothing revolutionary, but it clearly isn’t meant to be. One thing I appreciated about the overall story is that it doesn’t take itself seriously, and the game is funny throughout its entirety. Nothing that will have you in fits, but enough to warrant some audible laughs.
Super Time Force features beautiful old-school graphics. Capybara Games is obviously staffed by a team of highly-talented animators. The game looks like it could run on the first PlayStation or SNES, but there is a charm to those colorful 8-bit graphics. They aren’t a rushed job to save money or resources – the environments and characters are all crafted beautifully and are a charm to look at. However, if you aren’t a fan of pixel-graphics in the modern era of video games, you wont find this game visually pleasing.
The game also comes packing a great sound track. The levels of Super Time Force come accompanied with great music that fits the fast paced action found on each stage. The music really compliments the action and keeps the adrenaline running as you power through each stage. The guns sound unrealistic, but sound right for the experience you are having as you play. After all, the last thing this game is, is realistic.
The humorous story, the superb sound and the beautiful graphics would obviously mean little if the gameplay wasn’t fun. Thankfully, that isn’t the case. Super Time Force has a very simple control scheme and controls very well. You move through levels and aim with the left stick, while shooting with X and jumping with A. It all sounds relatively simple, but death, or a press of the B button, is where things get crazy. In these situations, you can rewind time to a point before you died and drop back in with any character.
You then fight alongside the character you were just using as they perform whatever task you did when you were in control. This adds a new level of depth to the game. You can save your past self and fuse with them for an extra hit-point. You can climb up high for a collectible, rewind, and continue on the main path while your past character grabs the collectible, saving yourself precious seconds. Or, you can unleash an army of past characters on the tough-as-hell bosses. These are just a couple of the crazy situations you can end up in while playing with time.
For the most part, Super Time Force is a blast to play. You start off with three characters that are available to switch between, and can find more by rescuing characters in certain levels. Each character has a unique weapon, so the variety of characters is great for the different situations you find yourself in. Can’t pass a horde of enemies? Unleash Jean Rambois’ machine gun. Need to ricochet some bullets off a wall to hit an enemy behind cover? Switch to Aimy McKillin and her trusty sniper rifle. Need some enemies above you killed while you take care if the ones in front? Use time travel to use both.
One thing you should know: if you aren’t a fan of difficult games and don’t have the patience to spend time on a difficult game, Super Time Force likely isn’t for you. The game can be hard, and I mean really hard. Unless you have an extra hit point from joining with one of your fallen soldiers, you die in one hit. When surrounded by enemies that are all firing projectiles at you, it is almost impossible to escape alive without expending multiple lives. And if you’re thinking you’ll move through the levels methodically and carefully to avoid such situation, think again.
Every level comes with a strict time limit. The screen can also become frustratingly cramped, adding to the difficulty. When you have multiple characters jumping around the screen while you’re stuck in the middle of a horde of enemies, there is often too much going on to pay proper attention to yourself and dangerous enemies. Whether or not you find this difficulty frustrating depends on the type of gamer you are. The bosses are even more difficult. If you love Dark Souls or other hard games, you’ll love this. If you don’t enjoy hard games, you won’t enjoy Super Time Force.
Unfortunately, as great as the overall experience is, it is also marred by a few issues. Firstly, the game experiences extreme slow-down in some areas. The game appears to run at approximately 1 frame per second these points, which can be bothersome. My worst experience with this was when story information was being displayed on screen, and rather than the sentences rolling out at a fast-but-readable pace, one letter appeared at a time and took a long time to catch up. Thankfully, these seem to be random occurrences and are few and far between.
My second technical issue is that, if you’re playing a level and somebody with an account on your Xbox is signed in by your Kinect, you’ll find yourself facing a message saying “The Sign-In situation has changed. Returning to Main Menu.” This can be extremely frustrating if you’re near the end of a level, only to be booted to the main menu because somebody sat down next to you.
My final issue with the game is the rewind function. As I mentioned, it is a great gameplay mechanic, but it too can be frustrating. If you die, it often rewinds you a lot further back than you’d like, so you have to wait for the rewind to finish before you can fast-forward back to your desired point.
Alas, despite the technical issues and occasionally frustrating gameplay, Super Time Force is great. The positive experiences far outweigh the negatives, and the game is a blast to play. Just be sure to play when you’re in a good mood and have some patience to spare, because the difficulty can often test that patience. If you have three hours and $15 to spare, Super Time Force is worth your attention. And if you’re terrible at it like me or want to find all the collectibles and beat your time, you’ll be spending more than three hours with it. Super Time Force is a fantastically designed game that is very enjoyable to play – assuming you have the patience – and is a great addition to the ID@Xbox programme.