Find out if there are any serious side effects from repeated time travel in 10tons' latest twin-stick shooter.
Developer 10tons have carved themselves out a nice little niche in the indie twin-stick shooting genre. Time Recoil follows in the footsteps of their previously released shooters Neon Chrome and Crimsonland and maintains the simple but fun style that they're known for. You play as a research scientist turned prisoner named Alexa. Her research focused on time travel but once she refused to continue her research, the evil Mr. Time locked her up and began performing experiments on her. Those experiments gave her the ability to travel back and forth through time without dying.
The bizarre story consists of Alexa escaping her prison then helping a different research firm working to stop Mr. Time. The plan is to repeatedly send Alexa traveling back in time to look for clues and information that will help her track down and kill Mr. Time. The story is complex and while the premise is interesting, I found myself tuning out relatively quickly because the plot itself is merely a relatively thin overlay that holds together the 50 or so levels of the game.
Each time Alexa travels back in time, she'll be faced with numerous armed guards. These guards are quick on the draw so you'll need to be fast to make sure you hit them before they hit you. Fortunately, every time Alexa kills an enemy, she enters a brief time slowdown where she can react quicker than her enemies which provides an advantage when dealing with numerous foes. This creates a sort of kill-chaining dynamic that you'll want to master as you play. You're more than welcome to crawl through levels slowly killing each enemy one by one but by moving quickly and taking advantage of the time slowdown; many difficult confrontations will be made much easier.
You're also rewarded with additional abilities when you chain together 2, 4, 6, and 8 kills. These abilities allow you to dash through thin walls and kill enemies before they see you (like in Mr. Shifty), launch a psy-blast that will decimate all enemies within a certain radius, and more. A few levels will require you to kill enough enemies to use one of these special skills but most of the time; they're just rewards for killing enemies quickly and smoothly. While enemies are quick on the draw, they're pretty low on intelligence. Melee enemies will chase you down even if you have your gun fixed right on them. Weapon-carrying enemies will be alerted to your presence but never actually come after you except for on very rare occasions. This takes most of the stealth out of the game because even if you're spotted, you can usually duck behind a wall and take them out after their bullets sail past you.
That being said, enemies get tougher in the later levels; not so much from improving their intelligence but rather by being equipped with shields, armor, and powerful rifles. The difficulty curve ramps up nicely as you get more familiar with the game mechanics. No level is too difficult but you also won't be sailing through the second half either.
Time Recoil plays like a toned-down Hotline Miami that strips away the stealth focus and ramps up the twin-stick shooting. Poor enemy AI makes some scenarios a bit unbelievable but the core gameplay and time mechanics keep it enjoyable from start to finish.
- + Fun twin-stick shooting gameplay
- + Time slowdown mechanic and kill chain power-ups spice up the gameplay
- + Well-implemented difficulty curve
- - Poor enemy AI
- - While the premise is interesting, the actual story is pretty goofy and forgettable