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Time Recoil Review (Nintendo Switch)

It seems as if we’ve only just finished the last review. Oh wait, the timeline is messing up and confusing things? Never mind.

Time Recoil, coming from 10tons, is all about time. Time powers, time based plot, and a mission going back in time. And now, it’s time to look into this time twister.

Time Recoil’s story is straightforward but also somewhat confusing owing to its theme. A woman gains superpowers after an accident in a laboratory, run by the evil and hilariously named Dr. Time (because Time is obviously the most threatening name for a villain). A time traveler named Bishop (no relation whatsoever) comes from the future and extracts her in order to save the future from this Dr. Time, who took over Europe and instilled it with fascist propaganda in the 1980’s with a time based weapon of mass destruction called the Time Eater (no relation whatsoever). Now your job is to go time hopping through the past decade to fix the timeline and rid society of this dictator. It’s an okay story, even if the constant time jumping makes it hard to follow at times (a problem common in many time travel stories).

Time Recoil is a top down twinstick shooter. Those who follow us will notice the overall foundation bears a heavy resemblance to another game made by 10tons, JYDGE, down to having a near identical control scheme. This is not a bad thing, since it controls just as well. Also lifted from JYDGE is the basic gunplay combat system (limited to generic pistols, SMGs, assault rifles, RPGs and shotguns) is carried over to Time Recoil, but everything beyond that is different. Killing enemies slows down time, and kill streaks extend the duration of the slowdown. Getting repeated kills in slowdown grants you a one use ability that aids in both movement and killing more enemies, what you get being dependent on how many kills you got in a single slowdown. The time based gunplay brings to mind SUPERHOT, in a nutshell, except time slowing down relies on you acting, and it doesn’t happen automatically.

These abilities, ranging from an enemy killing dash move to slowing down time slow much it’s practically stopped, are crucial to beating levels, because you die in one hit. Your enemies also die in one hit (unless they have armor or riot shields), so it’s kill or be killed. Ammo management is likewise important; you have to manage your shots carefully or be left defenseless, even if some levels have guns lying around (ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS SECURITY, GUYS). But it’s not as bad as implied, since retrying after death takes a second at most. As such, the game is largely painless trial and error, like Super Meat Boy. It demands almost flawless execution, but it’s never unfair (though higher difficulty settings will kick you hard sometimes). A fast mind and fast reflexes are required to win.

Like the gameplay (to an extent), the visuals are lifted from JYDGE as well, and they look about as good here. The major difference is that while JYDGE used several locales for variation, Time Recoil has less variety, mostly using the tall skyscraper aesthetic seen in JYDGE. On the flip-side, these areas have more detail to compensate, so it’s not like there’s a huge distinction visually.  The performance is solid, though there are frequent scenarios where explosions or numerous enemies firing weapons can crowd the screen and slow the game down rather noticeably, and not from time based powers. This can sometimes result in deaths due to being thrown off when it comes to movement in these precious few moments, so Time Recoil is slightly inferior in this area in comparison to JYDGE.

Time Recoil is overall a strange case. It’s a competent game with good visuals and challenging but fun gameplay, but at the same time it does have a learning curve and can be beaten rather quickly. Three difficulties for the campaign, a time attack mode (with online leaderboards) and achievements can keep you coming back for more, though, so at least there’s some incentive to keep playing. The highest recommendation for Time Recoil is for the player with a speedrun mentality, which is something the game very much encourages at times and succeeds at, but is a harder sell for someone wanting a quick ‘pick up and play’ game. It remains, however, a good product and something to check out.