When it comes to the time travel genre, why is it that the inventors always focus on world domination or wreaking havoc? They never put their inventions to good use or help solve world problems. If they didn’t, however, we wouldn’t find ourselves here in the presence of Time Recoil; a twin-stick, top-down shooter on the Switch.
If this sounds familiar then it’s no surprise as Time Recoil is brought to us by the folks at 10tons; the brains behind JYDGE and Neon Chrome. The indie scene is thriving on Switch at the moment and 10tons seem keen to capitalise on this. The big question is, though, does this deserve a place in your Switch lineup?
Short answer is maybe, and the long answer is it all depends on how accepting you are of the games shortcomings. For all it offers, Time Recoil could be so much more and follow through with its premise of time travel. It shows its hand early, reels you in with a promising story but it all drops off far too quickly.
You’re a rescued scientist who has been exposed to time travel experimentation with few side effects. You worked with the now dictator, Mr Time, in the past and have been brought forward into time to prevent him taking over Europe. The problem now being that his whereabouts are unknown, resulting in you flitting between 70’s and 80’s to track him down and put an end to his reign of terror. This suddenly gets a little convoluted, with the missions being a sequence of fetch quests.
The saving grace of these being the challenge behind reaching your objectives and utilising your time manipulation powers. A consequence of time travel here is that you can’t travel laden with equipment, restricting you to a pistol at the start of each mission with limited ammunition. This pushes you to be both creative and accurate with your shots in order to not waste ammo and build up your powers. Each kill slows down time, and every consecutive kill grants you an ability such as a powerful dash or to cause an explosive rift. Eight consecutive kills will grant you a short bonus of stopping time, with bullets hanging until time resumes and hitting their targets once it has done so.
The problem is, however, being accurate is easier said than done as the sensitivity of the sticks is so high. You often find shots miss their target or that or they embed themselves into a civilian whom you are meant to be rescuing. With relatively few checkpoints, this can easily see you tearing out your hair following numerous deaths. The key to success is through repeated attempts, remembering enemy patterns and placements and remaining relatively unseen. The element of surprise and firing first is of great benefit here.
Time Recoil does look rather nice in both docked and undocked modes with relatively few performance issues in either. It has a charming soundtrack and appearance that is reminiscent of the time periods which you hop between as part of your task. I’d say the same about Time Recoil that I would about JYDGE, however; at a price of £11.99, it’s hard to recommend given that it’s likely to have a short life on your Switch. That’s not because it’s not a good game, it is, but you’ll likely rage quit whilst playing it and mean to come back to it but never do. There are so many other titles out there jostling for your attention that it’s inevitable that this could happen.
With some tweaks and some refinements, 10tons will find the perfect balance and reach the heights of Hotline Miami and other top-down titles. As it stands, I’d recommend waiting for a price drop before jumping into Time Recoil and have it in reserve to fill any brief gaps in your line-up.