Super Time Force by Capybara Games is a unique experience that has renewed my faith in the success of side scrolling shooters. It is fun and the time traveling elements of the game make it both unique and enjoyable. What other game starts you off with 30 time outs and the ability to use the timeout feature to save yourself over and over again until the timeout counter reaches zero? To my knowledge no other game does and that’s something that truly shines in Super Time Force.
The plot is quite unique and there appears to be a bit of intended predictability and foreshadowing involved. Super Time Force’s plot is that you control the members of an elite time traveling unit that travels throughout time to stop the extinction of the dinosaurs, among other seemingly unconnected events important to the Super Time Force leader. Simultaneously, you’re also being warned by the one recurring boss that your actions are wrong. There are at least two game modes. One where you alter earth’s history multiple times and where you could beat a level using just one character even if you die. The other, Super Hardcore Mode, instead leaves each character to stay dead unless you save him or her with another character. To accomplish victory, you have to rewind time to fix mistakes that cause you to run out of time, to stop yourself from dying, and to take on many enemies that would be hard to eliminate with one character. After all, you only ‘start’ off with sixty-seconds at the beginning of each level with various time slowing or time increasing power ups to collect and various paths to take. It takes a lot of effort and incarnations of yourself to ‘aid’ humanity time and time again. The variety of unlockable characters makes each play through unique and unforgettable.
As stated above, the main premise of the game is to travel through time trying to stop various events using various characters that you start with or unlock as you play. The time out elements of Super Time Force that allow you to rewind time take a bit of getting used to, but once you do you’ll find it extremely useful and quite enjoyable as you fix the mistakes that lead to your previous character dying or use multiple incarnations of yourself to fight bosses or collect objects/characters that you cannot collect in the original sixty-second time frame (There are collectibles that slow time and add to the clock as mentioned above). Each unlock able character has unique abilities that will aid you in trying to beat the clock. For example, one such character is a dinosaur who spits out a type of acid, uses his teeth, and who can jump on enemies using his unexplained and comedic possession of a skateboard for prolonged damage. Some of the other unlockable characters are parody easter eggs of sorts for specific movie references that reflect a given time period. One character is Lou Don Jim, who is inspired by the Star Wars character Mace Windu.
While the time traveling controls take a bit of getting used to as re-winding and fast-forwarding time may often lead to an instant and aggravating death, the shooting controls and the moving controls (the left analogue stick for looking and moving side to side and “a” for jumping) are quite familiar and easy to use. The aggravation of dying using the time out features is often offset by the comedy driven story and humorous name parodies. Most of the time I died because of spawning in the paths of unavoidable enemy bullets. This is annoying because you only have 30 lives that you may need for a boss battle. The best thing I can recommend is being careful when using a timeout, or rewinding the game, and watch all the enemies and their weapons while rewind/ fast-forwarding to make sure you don’t lose a much-needed life. Ultimately, I found the controls to work and fairly easy to use.
The visuals nicely suit the arcade side scrolling shooter. The characters are made from blocks which fits the retro-style aesthetic. The background and the environment seem to be the only thing without a lot of visible blocks in their physical makeup. The music is also suitable for an arcade shooter. I did not pay much attention to it as most of the time it is masked by the sound of weapons firing. Either way the games visual and audio department is quite enjoyable and fits the overall tone nicely.