Developer: Capybara Games
Publisher: Capybara Games
Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One
ESRB: T for Teen
Release Date: May 14, 2014
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game
Every so often we see games that mess with the concept of time. Sometimes, the results are quite impressive and other times its just a total headache. Super Time Force“s mechanic is not entirely unique but Capybara Games have managed to do something quite cool with it. Players rewind time, place new characters into battle, and engage in increasingly ridiculous firefights. But is it all fun? Does it measure up to the standards fans have come to expect from Capybara?
Yes, a million times yes. Super Time Force is an astoundingly good new game that is, for now, exclusive to Xbox One and Xbox 360. In the story's beginning, a scientist creates a working time machine. Seconds later, the world is in chaos. Future scientist appears, briefly explains the situation, and forces himself to command a small band of heroes known as the Super Time Force. These folks are tasked with destroying everything that screwed up the space time continuum.
Players take the team and journey through a variety of timeframes, ridding the world of evil. Levels range from a post-apocalyptic wasteland to the age of the dinosaurs, knights and castles, and a handful more. Selecting stages is done similar to a Mega Man game, meaning there“s no required progression path to completion. However, each stage has multiple sections to play through, including boss battles.
The gameplay is where Super Time Force is both familiar and incredibly unique. Played in a 2D side-scrolling fashion, players are tasked with defeating everything that stands in their path. There are a handful of team members to choose from and each offers unique weapons and skills. After selecting who you want to wade through enemies you head out and attempt to kick butt. Thanks to the bullet-ridden landscape, you“ll likely die fast. And that“s where the main hook comes into play. Dying is not the end.
When a character dies, you can simply rewind time. There“s no restriction on how far you can go back, meaning you can even return to the start of the stage if needed. Once you“ve backed up to a suitably safe location, you choose another Super Time Force member (or the same as before) and resume play. A ghost of your previous combatant will appear, doing just as was commanded prior to their death. No matter what, the ghosts will always persist until they reach where they were killed. If you can manage to save them they will actually provide an additional hit point.
Although skilled players might be able to make it through stages with only losing a few out of the 31 given lives, this isn“t enough to save the world. Each level is also timed, meaning you not only have to perform carefully enough to not use your stock of lives but also play fast. This is practically impossible when you“ve got 10 seconds on the clock and a giant boss to beat. Or is it? Just use your powers to set up a ton of Time Force characters and each will whittle away at a boss health meter. Stacking up teammates to increase attack power is a common theme in the game. It takes a little bit of practice to get right but proves a very powerful part of the player“s arsenal.
The game might seem like it“s pure action goodness, but there“s actually a lot of thinking that goes into successful playthroughs. This is because the ghost partners play as you instructed them initially and will not do other things. For example, when coming across a boss with moving hit points, simply telling your team to shoot forward will not work. Figuring out how to place each teammate and which of their skills works best to the given situation might take a few tries. Usually these moments prove far more fun than frustrating.
No review of Super Time Force would be complete without appraisal of the graphics and music. Many games make use of the pixel art style but few can make it look as good as Capybara Games. The colors are blocky, bright, and each character is humorously distinctive. Screenshots fail to capture how attractive it looks in motion. Listening to the soundtrack also makes it feel like you“ve just inserted a cart into a retro console rather than playing a supposedly ”next gen“ game. In this case, that“s a good thing. The purposefully hammy writing only strengthens the comparison.
Because of the puzzling aspects of character placement and choice, there are no multiplayer modes included. However, there are leaderboards which are probably going to become very competitive soon. If you don“t care about that, then you may not get long to adore the game, as its six stages take around four hours to complete. The experience is great, but it“s a shame there wasn“t just a tad more to Super Time Force.
While you“re playing, Super Time Force provides an exhilarating (possibly even exhausting) experience beyond any 2D action games that have come before it. The unique time mechanics add a layer of strategy which isn“t keen on punishing players. No matter what your playstyle, it“s easy to have fun screwing around. Sometimes, that“s all you need from a game and Super Time Force certainly delivers.
+ Time mechanic is incredibly well-executed and neat to toy with
+ A team of up to 16 unique characters ready to handle any situation
+ Great presentation with lovely pixel art, music, and goofy writing
- Having only six time periods to explore means the experience is over rather quickly
Overall Score: 9.0 (out of 10)
Super Time Force is an incredible 2D action game with creative puzzle elements that non-Xbox owners should be jealous of (at least until they can play it themselves via ports!).
Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher