A title I have long been interested in finally came out in May for Xbox Live Arcade by Capybara Games (via Microsoft Studios publishing) and was also the third self-published on Xbox One using ID@Xbox.
A side-scrolling run’ n’ gun shooter with a 16-bit art style with a time controlling twist, the ability to rewind the action and try to save yourself from the death you just incurred adds so much to the game, building on the solid shooting mechanics in different environments.
Super Time Force is like playing co-op with yourself, you have 1 minute to get to the end of the level in “real-time” but within that you can rewind the action to spawn other characters to help yourself through the level whether you use them to pick up glorbs or shards, time extenders or to kill a pesky dinosaur or knights there is a ton of depth to what originally seems like a very simple game.
There are lots of playable characters in Super Time Force each with their own abilities and combat style which are useful in different circumstances. My personal favourite was Zackasaurus the dinosaur on a skateboard who can bite (good for killing enemies up close) and spit venom which is very useful destroying doors and multiple enemies. The characters provide another great aspect to a title that has clearly been fine tuned to perfection so it fits the vision Capy had for it. The variety of the abilities and the characters themselves which are funny (Zackosaurus, Squirty Harry) or imitations (Lou Don Jin) is done well and just adds character to the game overall.
The most important part of the gameplay is obviously the time power, using pause and rewind you can go back through what you’ve already done and do it better and quicker with the same or different characters which is where it really sets itself apart from other 2D shooters. At any point in the rewind process all the way back to the start of the level with the simple tap of a B button, you then select your character and you’re back in playing again.
When you come back into the game you are also able to save the life of characters that previously died by killing (or protecting that character) from whatever did them in, you can then “capture” the saved friend and use their special ability too, so if you hold X and fire it you could have Jef Leppard’s rocket combined with Amy Mckillin’s powerful shot to help bring down multiple enemies or a door down quicker, if you get hit with this second character, they will die again – for good this time but you survive and carry on, another great touch.
The story in the game is humorous and well presented which adds another layer to the game, why you are where you are and what your overall goal is in that level, not that it matters or is particularly deep but the story is well written with some funny references and moments. It’s certainly a good addition to the game anyway.
Super Time Force is a game that looks like its remarkably short on face value but in reality going through the levels, collecting all the glorbs and shards (which while unlock new character when all collected) will take a while to get it right as some are hard to find or attain in the context of the level. Add in the speed runs you can do to get a “Super Time Force” rank, there’s a lot of content there.
Collecting shards goes into slow motion for a few seconds and is especially useful when trying to complete a level for a STF rank. When you get near the end of a level you will see 3 little flashing blobs, collecting it will show a timer at the top and you will have a time of around 20 seconds (varies on different levels) to complete the level in from the very beginning. This seems ridiculously impossible at a glimpse but if you use your characters properly, efficiently and grab Zackasaurus you can zoom across the levels – grabbing the shards along the way to give you a little boost and jump home (you’ll know it when you see it) and get a Super Time Force rank (video below of one of my Super Time Force rank runs of about 20 seconds).
Along with all the levels, Super Time Force ranks, collectible glorbs, shards and characters theres a lot to do in Super Time Force without even getting started on Super Hardcore mode, I’m sure you can guess that one for yourself!
I haven’t mentioned the bosses either but at this point I won’t ruin everything!
Explaining the gameplay of Super Time Force is something I find quite difficult to do and feel like I’m doing the game justice in how well its presented and executed so I did a video (below) of my play through of an early level in the game to give a better idea of how it plays.
Super Time Force is a great game, with a core mechanic to make it really stand out and offer something fresh with nostalgia, great humour and a lovely art style to add to that, the entire experience is tightly put together with a perfect time bending bow wrapped around it. Capybara Games have made a game that will help to further define them as a top indie developer and made one of my favourite games on Xbox One so far.
The Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions are almost the same except for a cool feature on Xbox One which uses GameDVR within the game to record a game clip of your level with the press of a Y button at the end, without showing the rewinds, just the characters actual run. I have added another video below to show what that is like.
A PC version was recently confirmed for release on Steam this summer with added content.
Xbox.com store link (Xbox One / Xbox 360)– £11.99/$14.99
Formats: Xbox One (played), Xbox 360 (PC coming this summer)
Developer: Capybara Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios (On XBLA, ID@Xbox game on Xbox One)
Super Time Force rank run (22 seconds)