Thursday, October 26, 2017

Review: Time Recoil


10 Tons is back yet again to bring twin-stick shooter fans something to shout about and Time Recoil is worthy of some praise. While it is concerned heavily with gunplay, and you’ll need to be accurate, the time-slowing mechanic completely changes up how things play out and making it very much its own animal. Though I believe that the gearing towards replaying levels will make it more of a niche title overall, for people who enjoy this style of play Time Recoil has quite a lot to offer.


There is an overall story behind all of this that will play out as you progress through the game involving an accident that has given you the power to jump through and slow time and an evil mastermind trying to destroy the world. While it isn’t anything major or surprising this approach does do a better job at helping to define your varying objectives in missions, whether to collect information, rescue a specific scientist, or take a specific person out. It’s nice to see an attempt to give the proceedings a narrative, and that does make for a few twists and turns along the way, but the game really is still mostly about action.

Given the intensity of previous 10 Tons shooters what may be surprising is how much the time-slowing mechanic changes things up. You won’t be choosing your weapons and enhancements, instead you’ll generally be working with just a pistol (though you will get your hands on a machine gun at times) and abilities that you’ll activate by killing a certain number of enemies within a short period of time. The result is a sort of ballet of violence, with you experimenting with different combinations of tactics to either save up for more powerful time abilities that can kill a whole room or even stop time completely or to keep rolling by using cheaper skills to alternate shooting guards and then bursting through walls to quickly take out more. It is this puzzle of sorts that sets the game apart and is what will need to grab you to make the game compelling over the long haul.


That leads well into the downside, as overall compared to the other 10 Tons games I’d say that playing through on Normal difficulty to the end of the story will take less time than either of their previous shooters. The idea is that you’ll then either play through again in the harder modes (these get much tougher as you’ll find in Normal when you killed someone their bullets would disappear, that change makes the game far harder) or you’ll begin to tackle the very demanding Time Attack modes which are all about planning, route optimization, and execution to turn in some insanely intense and quick (adjusted with slowdown) times. If that doesn’t appeal to you the value proposition of Time Recoil is a tougher call.

The folks at 10 Tons have really done a phenomenal job with releasing 3 games that would, at a high level, be considered to be in the same genre but that are so incredibly different in how they play. Time Recoil is what I’d consider the biggest gamble of the bunch, tapping into a very different skill set, opening up a very different kind of challenge, and yet still delivering some thrilling gameplay. If you enjoy the almost puzzle-like nature the game evolves into once the main story missions have been completed, and trying to play through the same levels to eke out efficiency, there’s a lot to be challenged by and enjoy here. If, however, that sort of action is fun for a little while but not appealing to you for the longer haul it is a tougher call.


Score: 7.5

Pros:
  • Delivers a very distinctive experience with some nods to classics like Max Payne in terms of overall feel
  • It scratches a shooter itch but also requires some strategic planning to maximize effectiveness
  • If you’re into replaying the same levels with stepped-up challenge and optimizing your runs it has quite a lot to enjoy

Cons:
  • The overall story campaign isn’t terribly long on Normal compared to other offerings
  • While you do obtain more interesting time powers as you progress, overall the style and flow of things doesn’t change substantially, you’re generally working to be accurate with your pistol and working with your powers
  • If you don’t really dig going back to get faster times in Time Attack the amount of content in the game drops quite a lot


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