Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: April 4, 2019
Timothy vs the Aliens is a third-person 3D open-world action adventure platformer available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Timothy vs the Aliens developer Wild Sphere was originally formed in 2008 under the name Blue Shadow Games before being rebranded as Wild Sphere in 2014. The development team is situated in Spain having previously developed gravity focused adventure platformer Naught Reawakening on PC, scientific graphic adventure Let’s go to Mars on mobile, arcade and puzzle game Non Flying Soldiers on PC and mobile and more besides. Can Wild Sphere deliver one of the most unique action adventure platformers with the 3D open-world of Timothy vs the Aliens?
The story revolves around a villain named Timothy who must change his ways in order to become the hero that mankind needs to save the world from a hostile alien invasion that occurs in the 1920s prohibition era.
The story provides a range of missions such as trying to enter the building of Timothy’s grandfather that is in an area that has an elevated alien presence in the immediate vicinity that leads Timothy on a journey of finding keys and the supplies required to clear the path, while the biggest objective is trying to defeat the hostile alien invasion. Elsewhere, there are side missions such as Otis needing your help to find his 60 hotdogs that he dropped along with his cart when he was running from the aliens, while David offers a challenge in the form of sprinting through a course faster than his record time and more besides with the reward being a key for completing each side mission that rather brilliantly opens up more of Little Fish City. However, there is no New Game + feature resulting in the player not being able to continue the side missions and other exploration related activities after completing the story without actually restarting the story from the beginning. For instance, New Game + would have allowed the player to continue collecting Otis’ remaining hotdogs and to visit the labyrinth with the key rather than needing to earn it once more.
Character design is accurate to the period as Timothy and his friends such as Elizabeth, Luciano and Otis, alongside his human foes are dressed as anticipated. Timothy starts off with a pistol accompanied by infinite ammo to defend himself against the hostile aliens, although he needs a bigger arsenal than that to defeat the aliens. Catching up to a human enemy on the rooftops provides him with a machine gun, while Luciano sells supplies to Timothy in exchange for dollars that he finds around the city including a shotgun and a revolver. Each weapon has a set of varying attributes including the damage it inflicts to aliens, rate of fire and reload speed, while Luciano also sells ammo for the machine gun, shotgun and revolver, alongside important objects such as a master car key that allows Timothy to drive any car in the city and keys to open such areas as the police station and city centre. A friendly alien race that opposes the hostile alien invasion helps Timothy by providing upgrades to the ACE powers that they once gave to him that allows Timothy to move at hyper speed when those around him are moving in slow motion. Hyper speed ACE powers are particularly useful during close quarters combat situations versus a large group of aliens, alongside further upgrades for stamina and more besides, although the player has to really explore the city to be able to find them.
Enemy design begins with rats in the streets and progresses onto hostile aliens including a small orange octopus style alien that has a single eye in the centre of their head reminiscent of Cyclops and a larger green or red alien, although the larger aliens have many eyes and a giant mouth, while the larger green aliens are capable of piloting spacecrafts that fire green laser beams at Timothy, alongside a huge end game boss.
Environment design is quite diverse as the player will find Timothy exploring the streets, buildings, rooftops, sewers and more besides on foot throughout Little Fish City, while you can also drive around the city after purchasing the master car key from Luciano. Later missions are even more expansive in environment design as it takes place within the alien mothership; switching pace to Crash Bandicoot style platforming with moving platforms that have a pipe in the way to jump over before jumping onto the next moving platform or pivoting platforms that spin around as Timothy stands on them.
Timothy vs the Aliens’ remote play performance is pretty good as the graphics, audio and general performance is the same quality as the PS4 version. However, there has been no remote play control optimisation resulting in aiming being mapped to the top left of the rear touch pad, while firing Timothy’s weapons is mapped to the top right of the rear touch pad and swapping shoulders when aiming is mapped to the bottom right of the rear touch pad. It would have been much more comfortable to have aiming remapped to L and firing remapped to R with reloading moved from R to left on the d-pad given that right on the d-pad could cycle through Timothy’s weaponry instead of both left or right on the d-pad. The emphasis on major areas of the remote play control scheme being mapped to the rear touch pad does make for a learning curve before the player becomes familiar with the control scheme to the point of feeling more comfortable during remote play, although from that moment it is at least fairly playable in remote play.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the control scheme consisting of pressing R2 to fire one of Timothy’s weapons; holding L2 to aim; pressing R3 to swap shoulders when aiming; pressing R1 to reload; pressing X to jump; pressing O to interact with an object such as pulling a lever to turn on the electricity, collecting a key or beginning to climb up or down a ladder; holding square to run; pressing triangle to turn on or off the hyper speed ACE powers; pressing left or right cycles through Timothy’s weaponry; pressing up on the d-pad displays the inventory; pressing down on the d-pad to use a health vial; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move Timothy; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to pan the camera; pressing the options button to display the pause menu; and pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu. Tapping the touch pad displays the map, although there is no light bar implementation that could have provided an alternative HUD for Timothy’s health or stylish varying tones of white until battling an orange, green or red alien, alongside no vibration that could have reflected being hit by an alien, rat or falling from a height or into the sewer’s water.
Graphically, Timothy vs the Aliens has a charming colour palette relating to the time period it is set within as the environments and lead character are all in different shades of black and white, while enemies are orange, green and red, alongside blue for the exterior of the alien spaceship. Meanwhile, the colour palette and graphical art style is complimented by incredible slow motion effects during the use of Timothy’s hyper speed ACE powers in addition to amazing lighting, shadows, water and particle effects, alongside excellent character animations as Timothy jumps from platform to platform and pulls himself up to platforms that were almost out of reach. Timothy vs the Aliens has an unquestionably authentic look and feel of the 1920s prohibition era that is brought together by the high-end shader creation tool named Substance Painter working in perfect harmony with Unreal Engine 4.
Timothy vs the Aliens’ presentation is minimalist in its small quantity of menus that are navigated by the d-pad and face buttons, but immediately sets the tone from the title menu and main menu as Timothy stands next to his car upon a cobbled street as moths dance around a flickering light.
There are occasional voice-overs such as a character saying hi or hello, but the script itself is not voiced, although it would have leant further accuracy to the period by having character voices that were believable from the prohibition era. Sound effects include Timothy firing his weaponry at aliens and rats, aliens attempting to hit Timothy, aliens being defeated, collecting items and ambience such as flowing water, electricity and more besides; accompanied by superb period jazz music from the 1920s. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation, although it could have produced voice-overs had there been a complete voiced script or alternatively sound effects or jazz music.
The trophy list includes 25 trophies with 7 bronze trophies, 11 silver trophies, 6 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the trophies for naturally progressing through the story, alongside the Drive Carefully bronze trophy and the Armed to the Teeth gold trophy for purchasing the master key to drive any car in the city and all of the weaponry from Luciano’s shop in the sewers. Harder trophies include the A Full Hot Dog Please gold trophy for finding all the hot dogs Otis had lost; The Allies’ Power gold trophy for getting all the power improvements; and The Allies’ Life gold trophy for getting all the life improvements. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 10 to 15 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are no difficulty levels, although there is clearly a gradual difficulty curve as exploration progresses from ground level on Little Fish City’s streets to needing to climb up the sides of buildings and structures before jumping onto swinging platforms that require some precision jumps, while aliens of varying sizes will swarm around and surround Timothy during ground level when exploring the open-world city on foot.
There is no local or online co-operative or competitive multiplayer and there are no online leaderboards. Local or online co-operative multiplayer could have seen two players controlling Timothy and one of his allies in an attempt to complete each mission and side mission objective, while local or online competitive multiplayer would have tasked a player to guide Timothy through defeating aliens and rats that were strategically positioned and controlled by the other player. Meanwhile, online leaderboards could have showcased the fastest times from each player for completing individual mission and side mission objectives and every mission objective combined.
Timothy vs the Aliens’ replayability originates from a variety of missions and side missions, collecting power-ups to upgrade Timothy’s ACE powers and exploring a big open-world city on foot or by driving a car that will keep players returning for more than one playthrough. However, no New Game + feature stagnates the flow of the game after completing the story by not allowing the player to retain keys, ACE powers upgrades and Otis’ previously collected hotdogs.
• Title: Timothy vs the Aliens
• Developer: Wild Sphere
• Publisher: Wild Sphere
• System: PS4
• Format: PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1
• Hard Drive Space Required: 4.53GB