Time Recoil by 10tons Ltd, is a fast paced, action-adventure, 3rd person shooter that will capture your attention for hours. The puzzle element to the game allows you to choose how you want to solve it, whether it is taking the straightforward approach, blasting through walls, or causing the greatest amount of damage possible. The objective is always in sight, and it’s fun, carving your own path to victory.
You play as Alexa, a former scientist researching time travel, who is brought into the future by a rebel cell in Paris. You are marked special because time travel does not leave any effects on you, making it possible to send you to multiple timelines. Alexa also has multiple powers that she can perform based on how many lives she takes in a single instance. Our main character only remembers the linear path we go on, but the missions affect what the other characters remember. It feels like the Butterfly Effect gone wild, considering all the missions Alexa undertakes.
The main antagonist is Mr. Time, and he is the mad scientist equivalent to Hitler in the 1970s and 1980s. Somehow Time was responsible for the destruction of Paris, and you helped with his time eater program making it possible. Alexa has flashbacks from 1973 that raise some questions and imply some answers about the project and her time in Mr. Time’s captivity. The timelines easily get skewed as you go in and out of wormholes. The mad doctor finds out how to fight time travelling terrorists with time travelling hit squads, and then things get interesting … and even more confusing.
My favorite part is the gameplay. I feel like I’m playing a futuristic Hotline Miami, considering the amount of carnage left behind as I go room to room. When you kill one enemy you, time slows down like an adrenaline rush. Two kills give you the chance to blast through certain walls. Four kills let you unleash a psionic blast of instakill. Given the situation, you can play with these combinations to accomplish your objectives. There are multiple enemy times too, and they range from harmless lackeys to shielded minions with laser rifles.
While I enjoy the gameplay, I feel like the pace outraces the story and makes it feel lacking. The betrayals and sacrifices don’t feel like anything more than plot devices, making it hard to care for the narrative. Our protagonist feels flat as well. I questioned how a scientist suddenly becomes a highly skilled operative. I also would prefer the character design to take into consideration more body types. I was not sure the protagonist was a woman until I read the director’s notes. The multiple timelines are also quite puzzling, and the game only touches the surface of its potential for the story.
There is also some puzzle solving. Nothing like putting together Mouse Trap, but more so running across the map to get a key and to proceed through a locked door. Sometimes you need to get past a laser trap, so you have to get creative by killing one person so time slows down. You can run in between the blasts. You could also kill two people to blast through it. You get options. One time I raised an alarm so more enemies would spawn, and by taking them out I managed to use Alexa’s powers to get through poisonous gas. A lot of the harder scenarios can be solved by trial and error. You may die a lot, like I did, but you just start right from the checkpoint.
The level design ranges from simple to complex. There are a lot of clever design choices that encourage players to experiment due to the lack of ammo, limited (or excessive) amounts of enemies, and various traps. You get to plan your angle of attack, and, when the job gets done, you can deploy an exit wormhole wherever you want. Missions can literally take less than a minute, depending on how you approach the objective. One time I managed to accomplish my goals in mere seconds thanks to Alexa’s powers. Even though you can be OP in plenty of situations, other missions don’t offer that luxury. The game doesn’t hold your hand, and I appreciate that as well as the creative freedom.
Speaking of freedom, I enjoy the epic soundtrack from the title screen to the frontlines. I feel like a freedom fighter from a retro eighties movie. The beat adds to the fast pace of the gameplay and to the excitement of the player. The sound effects are also spot on from the grunting of minions to the thunderous gunfire.
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Overall, I think Time Recoil is an entertaining game that offers hours of gameplay fully worth its asking price. I think a fair rating for this title should a 9 out of 10 for its replayability, its fluidity, and its experimentality.