The guys over at 10tons aren’t messing around. Happily riding on the Switch’s surf, they’ve released their third game in a month. Following on Neon Chrome and Jydge, Time Recoil is yet another twin stick shooter. Even I, admittedly went into the game in a very cynical mood. I knew it was just going to be another re-skin of the previously mentioned games and, as nice as they may be, I couldn’t help but feel this would be a step too far, almost into taking the piss levels of cheek by reusing assets and mechanics.
So yes, even when downloading the game, I was thinking how could I review it without a jaded mind. I’d reviewed Jydge which I thought was decent, my good friends over at Switch Watch reviewed Neon Chrome (which you guys should check out), how could this be any different? Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, actually, I rather enjoyed this quite a lot more than Jydge.
The story here is actually a lot more involved and the linear narrative presents the 10tons team a chance to show some skills in the writing department, something they’ve avoided so far as I can tell. It tells of a future in ruin thanks to the misadventures of Mr. Time who’s manipulation of time has caused destruction and a world bowing down to to him. You play as a woman with a strange affinity for the usually dangerous act of time travelling. As part of a resistance group, you travel to the past to change the present day.
What I was impressed with was just how it didn’t take the idea of the consequences involved in time travelling, lightly. It takes the whole grandfather theory into the game and involves it in the story. If you go back on a mission to kill someone, the people in the present day don’t know who you’re talking about anymore. I didn’t find the story particularly compelling overall, but it was nice that they actually tried and I did sort of enjoy it. Cut scenes and dialogue are kept short so you’re never too far away from action.
As far as the controls go, it’s pretty simple. You move with the left analogue stick, aim with the right and fire your gun with ZR. That’s pretty much it apart from special moves you can earn by combo-ing bad guys together. The first power up gives you a teleporting dash forward which can kill enemies as well as let you pass through thin walls. This one particularly made the game remind me of Mr. Shifty, one of the earlier Switch eShop games. The next one is similar to the first but with a much wider range, then you have the bomb you can plant, even in rooms your not in, and then you can even get one that stops time almost completely for a few seconds. They’re all really fun to use and useful too. In fact, some levels can’t be completed without them, meaning at times, if you don’t get a high enough combo you may not be able to complete the level. This is where it felt a little unfair as it’s not always the easiest thing to do.
What makes this game far more different is the fact it’s one hit, one kill, for both you and most of your enemies. Even more so is the time slowing mechanic which, if you shoot someone, time slows down for you for a few seconds. This is what makes combo-ing enemies far more easy as you can generally take more time to aim and also dodge bullets. Even better is that, on normal difficulty, if you kill the enemy, their bullets will disappear after dying. This can help you play more risky and action orientated which makes the game a lot more tense overall.
There’s a decent variety of goals to do, although only one to do in each mission. It can involve assassinating a certain person, saving hostages, collecting information or useful parts, it’s not always the same thing which I can appreciate. They also gradually add more hazards as time goes on to spice things up a bit. My personal favourite was the encased poisonous gas which, if leaked, spills out everywhere making the place a death zone. This made one mission particularly tense as the goal was to pick something up in the middle of them, surrounded by guards and explosives. Good, exciting stuff!
It can be a difficult game too, no doubt. Mainly down to the one hit death which leaves little room for error. I didn’t particularly mind though as respawning was instantaneous and I often felt it was my mistake if I died, apart from the occasional overly sensitive melee attack which I turned off after a while. Another thing that adds to the difficulty is the lack of bullets. It’s very easy to run out of ammo if you’re unlucky and you can not be trigger happy. You need to make every shot count in Time Recoil.
Unlike the other games, there’s not much in the way of upgrading yourself, achieving goals or anything like that. It’s a proper straight forward experience. In that regard, it may not have the longevity you may be used to. But does that matter if you enjoyed it a lot more in the shorter time?
Presentation-wise it shares just about the same problems, maybe even more so because it’s a newer game and, therefore, should be presented better having learned from their previous games. Sadly, it looks almost identical with environments and character models still being on the ropey side. The music however, is just as cool as always.
Overall, to give the guys at 10tons some credit, they’ve milked this game engine, but done so in very different ways. It may share so many of the same things as their previous two games, but this still feels very different and in all honesty, a fresher experience. The one hit death, slowing down time and linear story made this the best of the bunch. It was exciting, challenging and most importantly, quite fun. It’s a decent recommendation from me.
Game provided by 10tons.