Time Recoil Review
Time Recoil is an action top down shooter, developed by 10tons Ltd, releasing on August 10 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
I have to be honest, the plot for Time Recoil did wear a little thin after the first couple of hours. None of the characters really spun any sort of emotional attachment for me. The main characters were bland and uninteresting. If I wasn’t going to be writing a review for the game I would have probably skipped right on through the story scenes. The story is quite simple though. It’s a traditional kill the bad guy plotline with a couple twist and turns along the way. Most of those twists and turns occur due to the agency you working for having developed time travel. This is an important aspect of the game, as you can probably tell from the title, and will play a key role in the gameplay mechanics too. You are often sent on errands from a past time to find documents, search for captured prisoners, or maybe a simple assassination.
Playing the game from a top-down view does offer you good viewership of the surrounding areas as you explore office buildings for your targets. However, due to the camera being fairly static, you are sometimes left blinded by what could potentially be behind a corner that is just out of sight. I would consider Time Recoil a clash of both Hotline Miami and Mr. Shifty.
As you venture through hallways and elevators in office buildings, you will also encounter plenty of enemy guards in your way. You must use your limited ammo supply to take them out. A basic pistol is pretty much all you need as most foes can be taken down by a single bullet; likewise, so can you. This means one wrong move will end up sending you back to the last checkpoint. This mechanic does give the game a certain sense of urgency. This also shows off through one of the game’s key mechanics. Kill Streaks. No, we aren’t talking Call of Duty style streaks, but every kill you make will start you off on a kill streak. 1 kill will slow down time automatically, two kills allow you to shift forward a small amount, four kills is a sort of arched damage attack, and the special abilities go on. Wracking up 6 or so kills really allows you to lay waste to hordes of enemies with ease. You cannot save up your abilities though, they will only last for a small amount of time before dissipating. This too plays into the favor of Time Recoil being a fast-paced game.
Due to the one hit kill mechanic being in play, it was nice to see such a quick restart feature being used too. A quick tap of the space bar restarts the level back at the last checkpoint. However did run into a slight problem here. If you happen to have a short dialog scene just after a checkpoint, and then you die, you do have to sit through the dialog again. It would have been nice for the game to realize you have just done the chit-chat before and allow you to skip it, but sadly this did remove any sort of tempo you had gained from the previous run. This only happened on a few occasions, but it was enough to cause me some annoyance.
The game’s difficulty does take quite a steep rise after around ⅓ of the way through the game, and there is quite a lot of content for you to master too. With around 50 levels to work through, you are in for a good few hours of time traveling action. The game took me around 5 hours to complete, playing on the regular difficulty; which I found challenging enough. However, there is some replay value with each level having a three-star rating system in place, as well as harder difficulties too. I couldn’t see if there was any reward for playing on harder difficulties, but it’s there for those wanting the additional challenge.
The gameplay is pretty solid. I can’t think of much else that could have been added to improve, other than including a couple more weapons. Maybe even a melee weapon or two. It was always a depressing scene when you run out of ammo, and you basically just have to commit yourself to death since walking up to a guard and punching them is pretty much pointless, but maybe if you could pick up a piece of the abundance of office furniture to whack foes with, it would maybe make a small difference.
Time Recoil’s graphical style and prowess are fairly basic too. There are no real WOW moments that make you sit back and appreciate just how good the game looks. It is fairly standard character models with little expression, or many polished animations either. A lot of attention to detail has gone into the 2D animation cut scenes which was nice to see, but any sort of in game assets are basic to say the least. It certainly doesn’t have a unique art style like Hotline Miami, or a stylised look like Mr Shifty. For me the visuals was the biggest disappointment from the game. I also was let down by the lack of any voice acting. It was probably that which left me feeling detracted from the story. There is quite a lot of dialog between characters between mission to mission, and having some sort of voice for those characters would have certainly helped to develop some sort of relationship with them.
Time Recoil is certainly in good company with cult classic games in this genre, Hotline Miami reigns supreme and you will struggle to find a game that parallels it in terms of impressive visuals and sound design and gameplay. I can’t really recommend Time Recoil over both Hotline and Mr Shifty, and when there is very little in terms of price between the three titles, I would say play the other two first. If you like this genre, sure, Time Recoil will quench that thirst for more fast paced top down shooting, but at it’s core, Time Recoil is an average game that could have been so much more.