From publishing and development team 10tons (the same team that has brought us games like JYDGE, Neon Chrome, and King Oddball) comes Time Recoil, the top-down twin-stick shooter that has you running and gunning your way not just through enemies but through time itself!
Harness the unique time bending powers of our heroin, Alexa, and team up with the Recoilers to change many events from the past in order to bring your allies back to life in the present time so they can help you with the ultimate goal of defeating the mad scientist who once held you captive, Mr. Time.
Time Recoil was an absolute blast to play! It is my first dive into the twin-stick shooting genre on the Nintendo Switch, and boy was I glad that I got the third iteration of this style from Finnish development team 10tons. Each of the levels, while often taking place in similar environments, was suspenseful and the difficulty was challenging for me, but in a way that was incredibly rewarding after I finally got the coordination of the twin-stick controls. Everything about this game keeps me coming back for more, and I can’t wait to see how this team continues their development of games for this genre.
Being a twin-stick shooter, the premise of the entire gameplay layout relies heavily on you using both of the analog sticks on your joy-con or pro-controller. The left of the two sticks is used to move your character’s body around the top-down environment, and the right stick is used to aim your weapon and also execute a melee attack. There is constantly a red laser sight for you to gauge where you’re aiming, and while the sensitivity seemed high for my liking at the start of my play through, I was able to adjust to it enough to where I felt like things were really clicking for me. Additionally, the controls include an action button (A), and both triggers (ZR and ZL) are used to shoot and use your special ability move respectively. There is also quick restart button (Y) reserved for use in the Time Attack mode of the game. There isn’t a single control that feels out of place in this game, and after a little bit of practice and adjusting to the sensitivity (like I mentioned earlier) this game really functions quite well from a gameplay perspective.
One of the incredibly unique things about Time Recoil is the main character Alexa’s time bending powers. This plays into the gameplay mechanics by allowing time to slow down when you execute a successful kill. This function serves as a great way for you to cleanly clear an entire room of baddies while also giving you plenty of time to see and dodge the onslaught of bullets headed your way. The latter of those two is especially important given the one-hit-kill potential for everyone, including our heroin.
The game rewards you for stringing together kills while this slowing of time occurs by giving you a special ability to use depending on the number of kills in your streak. These special abilities can be used to burst through certain sections of walls and surprise kill more enemies or allow you to concentrate mini-explosions away from Alexa and into other rooms where there are a lot of enemies waiting. Stringing any of these special moves together successfully results in a reoccurrence of the special move, given that you have hopefully created a new kill streak. This adds a new layer to the gameplay, as instead of bursting into each room you and mowing down your enemies you’re challenged to find a creative way to use your special move. This was a feature I really enjoyed in my play through, and it made the journey to ultimately take down Mr. Time all the more satisfying!
From a level design, Time Recoil sees Alexa being teleported via wormhole into office or laboratory spaces from the past that must have all been designed by the same architect. When games tend to recycle layout concepts through each level, boredom tends to reign supreme and the game often becomes very one-dimensional or monotonous. What Time Recoil does to counter this fear of mine is they’ve made each of the levels rather short so as to never let the player feel like they’re traversing similarly laid out spaces. This is also the case when playing levels that require more than one floor to be cleared in order to obtain what you’re looking for or save the person who needs saving.
The shortness of each of the levels also does a great deal to progress the story and keep players engaged. Whether you’re going back in time to collect an ancient part for the wormhole generator or saving a scientist who could help immensely in the future, you’re always going back in time for a purpose. The fact that the story is so well driven throughout the gameplay is something fun to be a part of and play.
There is an additionally gameplay mode in Time Recoil called Time Attack which is an achievement based leaderboard side mode that showcases players with great skill at running the levels of the game. It basically forces you to speed run each of the levels, and is a true challenge for players of the game. While I am definitely no speed runner, this mode was fun and served as the ultimate challenge for what I thought I was capable of accomplishing in this game.
Graphically and atmospherically, Time Recoil takes on a darkened but still dynamically colorful comic book tone. This is highlighted by the very smooth but fast-paced motions of the characters paired with the incredibly satisfying splattering effect of the blood when you take down an enemy with a killing strike. The atmosphere is enhanced by a catchy tune that is on repeat as you play through the game. I’m a big fan of video game music when it is done in such a way that the game cannot be played the same way without it or when it blends so seamlessly into the game that it doesn’t detract from your gameplay experience but instead helps to smooth everything out. This game definitely falls into the latter of those two camps, which is just fine by me.
All in all Time Recoil was an absolute blast to play. From the tightness of the gameplay to the unique story, this game has quite a bit to offer and it appears as if 10tons are becoming the leaders of the twin-stick shooter genre, at least on the Switch. This game is one that I would highly recommend to fans of the genre or gamers looking to explore it for the first time, and with a price tag of $13.99 this is definitely a Nintendeal.
A native of Minnesota, Brandon has been an avid Nintendo fan for as long as he can remember and enjoys being able to escape into the vast worlds offered in their games. Some of his favorite games include: Pokemon Blue & Silver, Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Risk of Rain 2, and of course LoZ: Breath of the Wild.
Outside of gaming Brandon enjoys riding motorcycle, listening to music or podcasts, cooking, watching movies, and is a big sports fan. He is always carrying his Switch with him wherever he goes, so feel free to add him if you’d like to lose at MK8D.