Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: April 20, 2018
Time Recoil is a top-down shooter available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4 and PS Vita. 10Tons have been in the videogame industry for over a decade and yet they still continue their incredible diversity in the genres they expertly tackle within their games such as match 3 puzzles in Sparkle and Azkend to physics based puzzles in King Oddball, shoot ‘em up Xenoraid and even top-down shooters in Neon Chrome and Crimsonland that showcase a clear departure from one another coupled with an extreme amount of enthusiasm and imagination to deliver unique experiences. Can 10Tons’ Time Recoil maintain or even improve upon the quality of Neon Chrome to deliver a standout entry within the top-down shooter genre?
The story begins in 1988 before a scene shows time travel by a character named Bishop back to 1981 that instructs your character to redeem herself in the future followed by time travelling into 1987. The plot moves very quickly as you discover that only your character can travel back in time followed by returning to a specific day as many times as required; therefore you must successfully complete numerous missions to prevent Mr. Time from carrying out his weaponised time experiments.
Time travel mechanics are exceptionally integrated into the mission variety of story mode such as going back in time to recover research, capture scientists willing to defect after hearing Mr. Time’s evil plans, destroying Mr. Time’s supplies and much more besides. Elsewhere, time attack mode places emphasis on completing each level as quickly as possible with three stars available per level for completing the level and doing so within a pre-set time of as low as 3.7 seconds as early as in the prologue level in order to gain all three stars, although every level must first be unlocked in time attack mode by completing it in story mode.
There are many nods to time travel and sci-fi related pop culture such as a character named Bishop informing you that “You must now come with me if you want to live” with Bishop the robot from Aliens being portrayed by Lance Henriksen that also played Detective Hal Vukovich in The Terminator.
Character design is varied as the playable character is a time travelling female who encounters people that want to help her in defeating Mr. Time which are depicted in a greater detailed hand-drawn style within their dialogue speech bubbles. Enemy design particularly includes armed guards that fire at your character as soon as they notice her as a shoot on sight policy ordered by time manipulating villain Mr. Time and obstacles such as pulse lasers which cannot be destroyed, so must be navigated by efficiently utilising slowdown or dash techniques.
Environment design is reminiscent to that of Neon Chrome as certain interior surfaces such as thinner walls, glass and furniture can be destroyed with multiple melee attacks or shooting at them, while keys are required to open some doors, alongside a glimpse of the conditioning of exterior environments when nearby to an outer wall as rain or snow falls and a trail of devastation is left behind by Mr. Time’s experiments.
Weapons include a pistol, assault rifle, SMG with each weapon having unique attributes including magazine size for ammo capacity and how slow or quickly a weapon fires ranging from the pistol’s single shot to the rapid fire of an assault rifle or SMG. Abilities are earned from chaining together slow down kills that are effectively slow motion kills in which two kills provides dash that sees your character dash through thin walls and even defeat nearby enemies in the process, while four slow down kills allows your character to gain a more powerful dash called dash-blast, although the ability can still only dash through thin walls. Psy-Pulse is capable of destroying large areas even through thick walls, although it is only granted after killing six enemies. However, slow motion powers come at a price as a single bullet from an enemy will be enough to kill your character; regardless of your chosen difficulty level, alongside many more interesting powers.
Time Recoil supports cross-buy between the PS4 and Vita. Cross-buy presents a superb amount of value as it means that you will be purchasing the PS4 and Vita versions of the game with just a single purchase, although there is no cross-save functionality; resulting in players on Vita not being able to continue from their story mode and time attack mode progression contained within the previously released PS4 version.
The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the control scheme consisting of pressing R2 to shoot; pressing L2 to perform a special move; pressing X or alternatively R1 to use an item or object; pressing R3 or alternatively L1 to perform a melee attack; pressing triangle to quickly restart a level in time attack mode; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move your character; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to aim your weapon; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. There is no touch pad implementation which is a surprise as Crimsonland previously featured the touch pad as an accurate alternative to using R2 or L2 to fire and the right analogue stick for aiming, while there is also no light bar implementation which could have been used to display an alternative HUD as to when your character had earned the chance to perform a particular special move, although there is seemingly no vibration which could have reflected the recoil of your weapon, the force of your character’s special move or when your character dies from enemy fire. Vita controls are equally appropriately mapped as firing your weapon is re-mapped to R, while performing a special move is mapped to L, alongside performing a melee attack being moved to square, although there is no touch screen or rear touch pad support which both could have alternated as a player preference for firing and aiming your character’s weaponry.
Graphically, Time Recoil on PS4 looks as good as you would anticipate a top-down shooter to be with fluent animations from your character and enemies, while the weaponry and special moves produce some amazing visual effects and explosions within the destructible environments, alongside the highlight of the time travel effects in slow motion and moving between timelines through a time vortex reminiscent of the time displacement unit in Terminator Genisys. Meanwhile, Time Recoil on Vita is a quality port in its own right as it retains the majority of visual effects, explosions and particle effects in accordance with a respectable frame-rate, although when compared directly to the PS4 version; there are clearly some optimisations such as the removal of exterior environments showing crumpled buildings and weather effects, while there is less anti-aliasing on the walls, furniture and floor patterns resulting in some pixelated edges on specific surfaces.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great touch screen based user interface on Vita, despite the touch pad on DualShock 4 not being supported; across various menus such as the main menu, story menus, time attack menus, options menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left and right analogue sticks, directional pad and face buttons. Menu backgrounds focus on the lead character after she has been propelled through a time travel vortex as she fires at enemies, but has at least three enemies firing at her.
Ally characters and Mr. Time communicate with your character via stylish speech bubbles accompanied by drawings of their faces due to a lack of voice-overs which is the only audio element that could improve the immersive story. Sound effects include opening and closing doors, destroying walls and furniture, applying special moves to nearby enemies and surroundings, firing weapons and melee attacking enemies, enemies firing back at your character, explosions, entering and exiting slow down time and the time travelling equipment. Sound effects are complimented by a soundtrack composed by Jens Kiilstofte, Per Kiilstofte, Aaron Spencer and Mauri Syrjala that fits perfectly with the time travelling gameplay. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation which could have produced sound effects or the soundtrack.
The trophy list includes 16 trophies with 2 bronze trophies, 4 silver trophies, 9 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Psychic bronze trophy for using a psy-blast, while harder trophies include the Faster Than A Bullet gold trophy for achieving a three star time on every level in time attack mode and the Murderous gold trophy for completing every level on murderous difficulty. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 15 to 25 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are three difficulty levels including normal, hardcore and murderous with the major differences being that normal offers casual action for gameplay to be more accessible to players who are not familiar with the genre as bullets stop moving when the enemy who fired has been defeated. Hardcore difficulty is geared towards experienced players looking for challenging gameplay as bullets continue moving after the enemy who fired has been defeated and enemies possess quicker reactions, while murderous difficulty dials everything up a notch as an unlockable difficulty level as a reward for completing each level.
Despite Crimsonland, Neon Chrome and Xenoraid all featuring local co-operative multiplayer for 2 to 4 players; Time Recoil does not include any form of local or online co-operative or competitive multiplayer. Co-operative multiplayer could have seen 2 to 4 players attempt to complete the single player levels, albeit with the quantity of enemies increasing in correlation with the amount of players participating. Meanwhile, competitive multiplayer could have comprised of two players in which one player controls the hero as the other player controls and strategically positions enemies, while competitive variants could have produced team based competitive multiplayer of two vs. two or 3 vs. 1 within the same concept. However, there are online leaderboards focused on global rankings and friends rankings with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); and the lowest time set for completing the level by every player within the time attack mode.
Time Recoil’s replayability stems from the intriguing time travelling story mode and time attack mode, alongside time attack mode’s online leaderboards that offer a competitive edge that will collectively have players returning for quite some time on both Vita and PS4, although replay value could have been even better if local multiplayer would have been included.
- Title: Time Recoil
- Developer: 10Tons
- Publisher: 10Tons
- System: PS4 and PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: Yes (PS4 and PS Vita)
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1 (Online Leaderboards)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 252.9MB
- Memory Card Space Required: 153MB