Wednesday, September 12

Review: Time Carnage [Nintendo Switch eShop]

While Nintendo helped make home light gun games a serious thing way back in the NES days they’ve not really touched the genre in quite a long time and there hasn’t been anyone filling the void. While the arcades still have new titles showing up periodically for the home market it’s mostly been the VR space that has helped spark a revival. One such game is the somewhat appropriately-named Time Carnage, which will allow you to shoot things ranging from dinos to robots to all manner of zombies. While it won’t be enough to attract the masses most likely it can be fun if you’re itching for some old school arcade shooting.

Primarily you’ll be going through the game’s Campaign mode, which is broken up into 4 chapters that each correspond to specific locales and monsters to shoot down. As you complete each stage of 5 progressively-tougher waves you’ll begin to accumulate your arsenal as well as unlock new Challenge modes and an occasional perk for the Arcade mode. Challenges tend to be a bit crazy and will typically force you to use a specific weapon of some kind against hordes of a specific monster, which can be repetitive but intense fun in bursts. Arcade mode then allows you to play with the parameters of the game, taking advantage of anything/everything you’ve unlocked to help amp up the insanity further.

The meat and potatoes here is really the gameplay itself, and that breaks down into the controls and the overall experience. As with other titles the more you attempt to rely on the gyro controls the more you’ll likely be disappointed, Nintendo really needs to improve their API and support for this since the issues with the calibration running away on you are common to all games that use them. That leaves you to use a combination of the right stick for rough control and low-level gyro controls for fine tuning. This does take getting used to but can be pretty effective and reasonably satisfying. Cycling your guns (you have 2 per side) so they remain loaded takes some getting used to, and different guns reload at different rates, but coming from a VR setup this configuration makes a lot of sense.

Finishing off with the gameplay I think what’s critical is what you’re looking for. This isn’t a terribly smart or nuanced experience, it’s about making effective use of your guns and being smart about which ones you roll with. You should ideally have a mix of single-shot heavy hitters and continuous fire so you’re equipped for both bruisers and smaller more nimble foes. Keep an eye out for time disruptions you can shoot to temporarily slow down time as well as explosive barrels to use strategically and you can have some fun with the ridiculousness of it all for a while. It’s not a game that’ll likely be appealing outside of its niche but given the lack of options on the Switch it’s still a welcome addition to the Switch lineup.

Score: 6.5

  • A pretty considerable arsenal of weaponry to choose from once you unlock it all
  • Though it’s all roughly variations on a theme the various challenges and perk modifiers help extend the lifespan of the game if you enjoy the challenge

  • No control scheme is necessarily ideal, but you can manage. Keep in mind this isn’t entirely the game’s fault either, this is a problem for all titles trying to make use of the precision controls that like to wander
  • Some levels and monsters can be tough to make out due to brightness levels, particularly in handheld mode due to scaling