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Time Recoil – Review (PS4, Xbox One, Steam, Nintendo Switch)

The year is 1986, and the Earth is essentially gone. Its surface lies barren and buried with twisted steel. The fabrics of civilization have torn apart, and whatever remains is oppressed under a watchful eye of a mad doctor.  With the future looking bleak and the present completely destroyed, the only hope for humanity lies within the crazy, confusing, but effective weapon of time travel. To save the world, you are going to have to jump back in time and bag some bad guys in a hail of bullets. From 10tonsLTD, the makers of Crimsonland, Xenoraid, and Neon Chrome comes their take on slow-motion action, Time Recoil. Originally released on Steam, Time Recoil has made its way to every platform available, including the Nintendo Switch.

Time Recoil takes place over the span of several decades, from the late 70’s to the 80’s to the apocalyptic future. Players star as a mysterious woman, who was rescued and brought to a secure location in the future, where a rebellious resistance movement is forming to strike back against the evil Dr. Time. Using time travel, Dr. Time has caused the world to ruin. By going back in time, players will save the future through a variety of missions, including rescue, assassination, and procuring information. However, time has been kind to players as they will possess unparalleled, super-human capabilities. This includes the ability to slow-down time and maneuver through hails of bullets. Time Recoil takes place across 50 missions, many of which will take a few minutes to complete. Each mission has a specific objective to complete, and completing these objectives will be often challenging, as the game, while a twin-stick shooter, contains a puzzle mechanic.

Players will possess the ability to slow down time, but they are not cyborg warriors as seen in Neon Chrome. Players can procure weapons but will have very limited ammunition. When Players perform a kill,  slow motion is activated. The slow motion will last for as long as you make quick, consecutive kills. If several seconds pass with no enemies slain, slow-motion runs out, and players are left vulnerable to gunfire. Therefore, building a chain is critical to completing missions. Over time, players will develop superpowers that activate upon making successive kills. One such power actually sends an energy wave that makes enemies explode.  Using these powers not only challenges the players but yields a sense of reward, especially when facing entire floors of armed bad guys.

Because the main character isn’t an armored warrior, players will die in one hit. Fortunately, the large levels and the near-instant respawning makes dying tolerable. Players are free to experiment with different ways to succeed in a level, as well as which targets to hit. This is made accessible thanks to the slick controls and polished responsiveness, between the player’s input and the actions on-screen.

When everything comes together, the gameplay of Time Recoil is absolutely fantastic, as well as an imaginative take on the traditional twin-stick formula. Dodging bullets in tight hallways and using the power of time to vaporize your enemies is extremely satisfying. Players can even have enemies shoot each other with precise movement. For anyone that ever enjoyed the QuickSilver moment in the recent X-Men movies will likely have that sense of slick style in Time Recoil. The pulsating soundtrack by NightStop also aides in the sensation of being an absolute badass.

Presentation wise, time Recoil looks solid, if familiar. For those that played Neon Chrome, the game will feel very familiar.  Some may argue that, visually, the game feels uninspired. However, gameplay is what matters, and Time Recoil is an entirely different game. The environment is destructible, as per the pattern of 10tons games, and the particle effect when using time powers is neat as well. The story is also told in comic book panels, giving a sharp illustration of what is happening on-screen. Perhaps my one real complaint on Time Recoil is the need for more levels. 56 levels are quite a lot of levels, but some of these levels can be finished in a few minutes, perhaps longer given the number of deaths players will have. I can also imagine there being a shared universe among the 10tonsltd games, which would involve Time Recoil connecting to Neon Chrome, Crimsonland, JYDGE, and the soon-to-be-released Tesla Vs Lovecraft.

Time Recoil is a blast from start to finish.  From using amazing time-based powers to the satisfying slow-motion shooting action, Time Recoil is a unique, thrilling sci-fi adventure that will constantly keep getting you to go one more time in the pursuit of saving the universe. 10tonsLTD has done it again.

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