July 20, 2015 11:15 AM | John Bridgman
No Time To Explain by Tiny Build Games has had an interesting past. Technical complications, publisher confusion, and a mixed reception have marked the past few years for the platformer. Newly remastered, the game is available now on XBox One as well as on Steam.
No Time To Explain is a challenging platformer with an emphasis on unique movement methods. Your primary method of propulsion is using a very large beam cannon which functions as a jetpack of sorts. By pointing it in the opposite direction of where you want to push yourself, you launch yourself in the appropriate direction. It's a bit disorienting at first but it's a simple mechanic that you adapt to quickly, and the game is forgiving enough early on that you get the hang of it nicely.
This isn't the only method of propulsion for your character however, as some levels involve using a different iteration of your future self with a different gun. These break up the gameplay and keep things from getting stale. The game is thankfully not a one-trick pony in this regard so it can hold your interest. It also has lots of unlockables that you acquire through exploration and mastery of the movement mechanics, which is something I was surprised to find, and something that kept the game's appeal up as the levels got progressively more and more challenging.
Its visual presentation is simple but at least stylistic, and I think it works well enough. The few characters sprites there are move alright, and the larger boss creatures are nicely drawn and animated. One of the game's touted features, the dance button, is remarkably charming in this regard for such a simple animation on the main character sprite. The levels are well drawn, and aren't too large to be overwhelming, but there's enough to explore that finding collectibles isn't too easy that it stops being rewarding.
To enhance its aesthetic is some catchy music with good variety to it, as befitting a game with a dance button, The music is listenable on its own, and through it the game draws you in more even when frustrations might start pulling you away from the experience. The sound design in general is a strong point with big, loud effects for the weapons and bosses, as well as your future self's quotes which are voiced nicely and usually pretty funny. Though if you get stuck on a level you may find them annoying as they start to repeat.
The game promises to have boss battles that don't suck this time around, and while they aren't terrible, they are still one of the game's weakest points. It's really the only time you need to use the beam as a weapon as well as manage movement, which while an interesting change, is something you're not really used to by the time you reach a boss and it takes some adjusting to. Luckily you get three deaths per boss attempt, rather than needing to restart the fight after a single hit, though it's still frustrating to go through the first stage of a boss fight and run out of these "lives" before learning the second stage and having to restart the entire encounter.
No Time To Explain is a game that lets you pick up and play it in short sessions, complete a few levels, and put it down for a later time fairly easily, and completing the levels is generally rewarding both for your skills in execution as well as problem solving. If you don't like challenging platformers this isn't going to be the game to change your mind, but if you're in the market for a skill based platform game on the XBox One, this could definitely be up your alley. Worth noting, if you already have the original Steam version of No Time For Explain, you get the remastered version free, and even if you didn't like it the first time around, it's probably worth giving this version a try.