Video games are supposed to be fun. With that in mind, the recently released No Time To Explain is a dynamic thrill-ride that never takes itself seriously. After playing it, you'll want to teleport back in time and tell your past self to look forward to this fantastic indie title.
The title basically says it all; No Time To Explain begins with your future self bursting into your house to tell you to follow him immediately before a giant enemy crab snatches him up. From that point until the very end of the game (and beyond), the story evolves into an insanely convoluted mess involving an evil version of you, diabetes, and fusing bodies together. Through many hilarious cutscenes and gameplay segments filled with off-the-wall events that you'll never expect and game references galore, it'll be difficult not to keep a smile on your face for every second of gameplay. The graphics look like this could be a game from The Behemoth which matches the humour perfectly. Audio consists of awesome voice work (all from the same guy), a mixture of cinematic and retro video game music that always fits the situation, and loud yet satisfying sound effects. Overall, it's a game that you'll not only enjoy playing, but any folks watching you play would be glued to the television just to see what comes next.
It's kind of difficult to describe the gameplay of No Time To Explain as there are so many diverse segments. However, a cohesive control scheme manages to bind it all together. Basically, you move with the left stick while you use a weapon or ability with the right. Don't think that you'll be using that weapon to kill enemies, though, since you'll mostly use it for platforming purposes. At the beginning of the game, you acquire a weapon that fires a steady blue stream which doubles as a jetpack. Later, you'll control characters that can blast away from walls, swing around stages, hop off and stick to surfaces, and much more. Some sections play completely differently such as an area that scrolls like a classic shoot 'em up and one where you eat cake to get fat and roll around. Finally, there are a handful of incredibly difficult and ultimately fulfilling boss fights dispersed throughout. The controls always manage to be intuitive although mastering them requires a ton of patience. Being able to subtly tilt sticks and have perfect timing and precision while also thinking fast under pressure can be extremely daunting, so make sure you're ready for a challenge.
The campaign itself is quite long considering each set of levels may take you several attempts to complete. Along the journey, you'll discover many hidden hats that are quite enjoyable to track down and obtain. Even after you complete the game, there's still a lot of replay value left. Besides trying to get all of the hats, you'll also work your way through two unlockable worlds. The first is a sarcastic spin-off of modern gaming that includes Minecraft references and annoying in-game ads and the second is a set of levels designed by fans. Additionally, you can play with a few friends in local multiplayer. Although this has the potential to be fun, playing just by yourself is chaotic enough so adding more people might be a bit much. That being said, it's definitely an interesting inclusion that's worth trying.
After completing No Time To Explain, one nagging complaint stuck with me. This is the fact that some sections implement rules that are frankly unfair. One such rule is that dying by spikes makes you spawn on the last platform you were on while dying by being caught on fire forces you to start the entire level again. This can get irritating quickly. Another example is during the shoot 'em up stage. When you use your powerful weapon, the screen shakes which has a cool effect but during this stage it'll make you miss many oncoming dangers since it's hard to spot them when the screen is shaking violently. Probably the most obvious frustrating factor is that you have to complete each set of levels in one sitting because you can't continue halfway through. For later sets of levels, you may want to take a break as they can get intense, but you'll have to resort to pausing it until you're ready to plow through the whole shebang.
No Time To Explain is a gamer's game. If you like having fun while working your way through plenty of tough and satisfying scenarios then this is the perfect game for you. However, those who are intolerant to challenge should stick to the "art" that they're used to.
- + Large variety of brutally challenging yet rewarding gameplay mechanics
- + Absolutely hilarious from start to finish
- + Hidden secrets add a lot of replay value
- - Some sections have rules and features that can be frustrating and unfair
- - Requires a ton of patience to master