I like to imagine that every game has that one moment that defines it. That single perfect instance where all the gameplay mechanics come together into one glorious second that nails the ideas behind that title. Maybe it’s a perfect Lancer melee kill in Gears of War, maybe it’s a perfect counter in Street Fighter that leads to a punishing combo or the idea of landing a perfect headshot in PUBG puts a smile on your face.
Moments like that, are precious and fleeting. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could slow down the passage of time and live in that sequence for a few precious seconds longer? That’s kind of the idea with Time Recoil, another twin-stick shooter from 10 Tons. Time is the key hook here, an ally and a weapon in your thumbs as you find yourself hurtling between the past and present like some sort of chronal ping pong ball being batted around by a cosmic Chinese table tennis team at the space Olympics.
Something has gone terribly wrong with time (yet again), and it’s up to you to fix it with as many bullets as possible. Yes. Is time travel possible?
On the surface, Time Recoil plays exactly as you’d expect it to. One thumb controls your movements, another thumb on the opposing analogue keeps your protagonist’s aim true and your index fingers use those directions within which to unleash a well-aimed bullet. Where Time Recoil mixes up the genre standard ideas, is within the kills for time-warping skills marriage of guns and perks.
Get your first kill, slow down time and use that gap in the flow of history to select your next target and continue the killing spree. More consecutive kills within that brief window rewards you with more clock-stopping abilities, such as a dash that can reduce an enemy into giblets or even a complete stop to the tempo of the world around you as you leave bullets in midair next to an unlucky henchmen.
It’s a good thing that you have all of these skills at your beck and call, because Time Recoil doesn’t shy away from being typically challenging in its twin-stick shooter setup. Death is a mere bullet away, guards are more aggressive than gamma-irradiated rottweilers and resetting the clock is something that you’re going to need to get used to quite often as most stages throw you into the thick of things with nothing more than a handgun at your side.
At its best, Time Recoil is a brilliant use of working out the perfect flow within which to ply your deadly trade. Live, die and repeat yet again as you work out the perfect formula of which guards to take down first and when to use which power-up to your advantage as you dance on the edge of tomorrow. It can be utterly infuriating to get to that point, but when it works it is magical.
It may be visually simplistic and the action may stutter during more chaotic moments on the Nintendo Switch whether you’re docked or on the move, but the overall presentation is solid enough. Dismiss the rote story, have some fun with the varied levels and try your hand at topping your best scores in the time trial modes and you’ll be in for a treat with this quirky little shooter.
If you have the time for it, that is.
Last Updated: January 12, 2018