May 15, 2014 9:00 AM | Anthony Swinnich
After years and years of gameplay trailers and show floor demo builds, Super Time Force has finally come out. I pressed start and the beginning whooshed by. I shot things. They exploded. I was shot at. I died. I rewinded time. I saved myself, and died again. Before I knew it, the end credits were rolling and my journey was complete. The time I spent with the titular fighting squad had come to an end, and it was fantastic. I guess I always knew it would be... but it's nice to finally know for sure.
Capybara Games are nothing if not creative, as evidenced by games like Sword & Sworcery or Critter Crunch. Super Time Force is, so far, the pinnacle of their journey as a studio. It's one of the most unique action-platformers ever put together, and would be a high watermark for any team.
Imagine your typical Contra-style run-and-gun shooter. When you die, you pick another character and respawn, just like normal. However, the important part isn't where you respawn, but when. You have the ability to rewind any of the time you've spent in the level so far and redeploy at whichever point you see fit. Don't like the way you stupidly jumped into an enemy's bullets? Respawn and avoid them. The best part is you'll be playing alongside all of your previous attempts. The ghosts of actions you've performed will continue to play in the same way as you perform the level yourself.
You can gain hitpoints by saving your ghosts. For example, grab the shield character and block a stream of bullets to prevent a death and you can recollect your now-ethereal former self. You'll also gain their special attack should you charge up your blows. You have up to 30 lives per level, so the potential for self-made shenanigans is high.
There are six main levels to crash your way through, all of which are timed. Strewn through the levels are items that add seconds back onto the clock. Should you run out of time, either during a regular level or at a boss battle, you can always rewind, respawn, and try to make a faster go of it. In fact, you'll have to. That's one of the main hooks in the design.
If there's one thing I'd say is a negative it's that the game is pretty short. The six levels are divided into about four boards each (plus a final area with four more) but I was able to clear the game in an evening. That said, there are a ton of "glorbs" and other collectable doo-dads to find in the levels, which should help add replayability for some. While I expected a little more, I know I'll go back and play this again, so it's not too huge an issue.
Your journey through the fourth dimension will introduce you to many an unlockable character and even more formidable foes. It may lead you to question your surroundings. You may find yourself asking "What's a doughnut?" right before it rains. Said time-based journey will cost $15 on Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360 or on the Xbox One.