Time Recoil, the latest for developer 10tons Ltd., released this month and with the Nintendo Switch being the seemingly new champion for indie titles, I spent some time playing through this twin stick, time-traveling shooter. After several hours of dashing, shooting and time hopping my way through Recoil’s campaign, I have some mixed thoughts on this indie title that I want to bring to you. So grab that coffee, sit back and enjoy our Time Recoil Switch review.
Time Recoil opens to you waking up in a prison cell that has just been blown apart by what turns out to be a tear in time. With little explanation, you’re told to jump through the portal to help save humanity. Without rhyme or reason, you jump into the unknown only to be whisked away into the future where dire circumstances have caused a resistance group to seek you out on a mission to save millions of lives from the evil Dr. Time, who it turns out, is using the time to destroy and devastate humanity. For reasons unbeknownst to your character, you can seemingly travel back and forth through time without harm, a feat that no other has been able to accomplish thus making you the perfect candidate for this desperate mission through time. This is the basic set up for what could open up to be a pretty solid offering.
Yet before you get too excited I have to ask, have you ever stopped to read the instructions on the back of a shampoo bottle? It’s pretty straightforward really; Lather, rinse, repeat. Nothing more and nothing less. The interesting thing about these three simple instructions is that some games fall into the same basic cycle. A game can have a lot of things going for it, unique combat, engaging premise and some great mechanics but if it gets stuck in the lather, rinse, repeat cycle and can doom the whole experience.
On the surface, the story of Time Recoil seems to be an interesting one that initially pulls the player in. However after only an hour or so you quickly realize that what seemed like a solid story is a thin veil for a never-ending series of fetch and kill quests. The plot never really unfolds into anything more than an excuse to send you back into the fra leaving the player with little more than a grindy, repetitive experience. This is one of my biggest critiques of Time Recoil, it never seems to break up or add variety to that basic quest, kill, repeat cycle. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that quest, kill, repeat is at the heart of essentially every game ever made. What separates the great games from the mediocre is the ability to present this cycle in an engaging way that leaves the player wanting more. Unfortunately Recoil missed the mark here and instead We are left with a story and premise that never really go anywhere.
The game’s visuals work well for the title but are plagued by the same basic issues that the story struggles with, it never really develops or changes. In the time I played I saw very little difference in setting, not even the color scheme presented any time of variation. There are a few enemy models introduced throughout the course of the game but even these are recycled from other models adding an extra strip of color to help distinguish them. It just feels half-hearted. This was a bit disappointing considering some of the other titles that 10tons Ltd. has released in the last couple of years.
There are some points of merit for this twin stick, time-traveling shooter and they come in the form of game mechanics. Time Recoil reintroduces the concept of bullet time (Google “Max Pain” for more information ) whereas you kill enemies you are rewarded a few seconds of slowed down time. This is crucial for survival as the game is built on the one hit kill system, meaning that the time slow down is your only real defense against death. Being able to dodge bullets is a fundamental part of gameplay and was a lot of fun to do.
Another great combat mechanic that is presented is a charged dash attack. Starting at two consecutive kills, you gain access to your dash ability which allows you to move through both people and thin walls. As you build up the dash charges it becomes more powerful allowing for more devastating attacks. This dashing mechanic really opens up the options for attack and retreat giving you some options during combat. This coupled with a very limited ammo system really forces you to constantly be on the offensive moving as quickly as you can throughout the level always on the hunt for objectives and fresh ammo to keep you going. Combat as a whole is one of the strongest parts of Time Recoil, it offers some unique takes on the twin-stick shooter, forces you to think and move quickly and creates some pretty intense moments that can be rewarding.
Yet despite these great mechanics the fact that you do little else during your time in the game leaves the player feeling disengaged and simply tired of the lather, rinse, repeat formula. Time Recoil is a game that has a lot of potentials; introducing some great mechanics and a solid premise it could have been a great title. However, with a lackluster story, lack of variety in environments and enemies and the extremely repetitive design, this time-traveling twin-stick shooter misses the mark.
Final Score: 6.7
- Interesting and engaging combat
- The Bullet Time mechanics offer some variety in combat situations
- Underdeveloped story
- Relies too heavily on its combat mechanics to carry players through the game
- Repetitive gameplay can be a turn-off