According to Benjamin Franklin, some rather famous American if I recall correctly, once time is lost, its never to be found again. Well, Capybara Games have set out on a quest to change that and deliver a game full of personality, action and laughs along the way! I am of course talking about Super Time Force. No, it's not based on a crazy old 80’s show that never made the cut after M.A.S.K hit the big one, it's actually just a brilliant game. I mean, its 100% mental served with a side of crazy and I of course felt like I needed to stand up just so I could sit down after playing it, but its fantastic and a great show for the Xbox Ones ID project.
So how does STF actually play? Much like the developers previous title, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP, STF is a beautiful 2D platformer with a style I can honestly say I have only seen in Capybaras own titles. Playing as one of a motley crew of action aficionados, you must go back in time to change the course of history, for the better. Or whatever, really you just want to go back in time and should some dinosaurs in the face!
Faced with a single 60 second countdown to complete some pretty lengthy maps, you must use time travel on your side to zip back and correct errors, which you’ll no doubt make in the fray, on the fly. Character choice plays a rather large part in your survival also, as each offer their own unique secondary attack. The assault rifle trooper for example has a standard shot which is, well pretty standard actually, but he offers a secondary fire that sprays bullets from top to bottom, while the sultry sniper has a secondary shot that once charged, can fire through any wall or object. Learning how best to utilise your team in a sticky situation is rather paramount here.
You see, with the beautifully designed time bending mechanic at play here, you can fight on for a few seconds before pausing to take a breath and then zipping back in time, changing character and hitting play, allowing both members of the team to fight side by side. When times get tough, the tough use time travel and you're forced to manipulate time and pile up the correct number of squad members, allowing you to out gun the seemingly insurmountable crowd of foes and catastrophes coming your way!
Makes your head hurt right?
Well, get used to it soldier! It wont end with 2, 3 or every 4 members of the squad on the screen at one time, oh no, it's not that easy maggot! During my first real boss fight, I ended up with more than 10 squad members of the screen, all fighting to the death until we eventually prevailed!
As the game unfolds, you realise that the 60 second timer above your head, isn't quite as restricting as you once thought, in fact, its just enough time to unleash all kinds of carnage onto the screen. Think Back to The Future, only this time, 7 Doc Browns turn up with all kinds of Marty McFly. Armed to the teeth. Oh, and drunk, very very drunk!
It's not all plain sailing though, as STF offers you only 30 ‘time-outs’. This means you have only 30 chances to pause time and stack up your team with another copy, ready to fight, if you cant finish your task within the time limit and time-out limit, game over my friends!
On your travels, you’ll find certain orbs and objects such as ‘time-extends’ which once broken with an attack, offer a brief slow down of time, this sometimes makes all the difference, or ‘golden shards’ which offer you more ‘time outs’.
The main mechanics have been polished to perfection, making for some great play that never feels overwhelming in the wrong ways. You're spurred onwards and the more you begin to understand about the game, the more you find yourself strategising and planning your next move, all in aid of saving precious seconds. Do you bother with collectables? They help but it’ll take time. Unless of course you spend a time out and send one soldier on the shopping path while others battle on?
As you push ever onwards, you’ll casually get to fight all kinds of enemies such as deadly robots, dinosaurs and giant Lizards among others, all of which will fill up the screen with all kinds of chaos. Bullets, bombs and body parts will fly at crazy speeds. That’s of course without the massive Boss battles you’ll face at stage completion.
With such frenetic pacing, yet so many decisions at your door, its almost too exhausting to comprehend but the satisfaction of taking out a gigantic robot in a mere 2 seconds thanks to piling up 20 team members, is so great you’ll come back for more and more!
The story is played out through a series of cut scenes which, while a little heavy on text, are brilliantly funny and suit the games tone so well. The tone is fantastically light hearted, which offsets the head ache enduing action perfectly, almost rewarding you for each fight with some jokes and eye candy. More eye candy than before I mean. As you assemble your team of hard nuts such as Jean Rambois, Shieldy Blockerson, Melanie Gibson and Dolphin Lundgren (yes he is a dolphin) you’ll find nostalgic nods and jokes a plenty, with a dash of Adventure Time thrown in for good measure.
This also helps to glue together you're rather crazy maps to navigate and set pieces that unfold. Swiftly going from jumping car roof to car roof in futuristic cities to jet packing around a prehistoric world about to fall to pieces. Like I said from the beginning, this is madness. A box of frogs would make more sense, but its great.