With all of the big name games out now or coming out later this year, I still surprise myself when I forgo playing something produced by one of the big dogs in the industry and instead play something developed and often produced by an independent developer. This is a phenomenon that has really permeated my game time this year so much so I posted a blog about it early in the year suggesting 2014 was going to be the year of the indie game - at least for me. I've already played so many...and to be honest I haven't played one yet I didn't like. The most recent one (until tonight) was Thomas Was Alone - a simple but spectacular game. But tonight, I finally broke down and started playing Super Time Force. I was pressured into it...honest. A friend and co-worker played it and finished it...and just so happened to be cleaning off some of the achievements earlier today while I watched him play. It was then I told myself...just play the game already. So I did.

I am reluctant to blog about this game because yes it is on the Xbox and yes it is part of the ID@Xbox program...and some people like to think I'm only here promoting Microsoft and the Xbox. But the truth is, it's developed by a little game studio called Capybara - and I don't feel bad about giving them props for a brilliantly designed game. They also make games for all sorts of different platforms including iOS, Nintendo and Playstation. So even if you're not interested in Super Time Force, there is a good chance they might make something else you do like on a platform you do have.

Capybara Games is an award-winning independent game studio based out of Toronto, Canada. It focuses on the development of iPhone, Nintendo DS, and downloadable console games. The studio was founded in 2003 from a collection of Toronto IGDA members.

So, Super Time Force...

Ah, Super Time Force.

I don't even really know where or how to begin describing the game to you, especially if you've never seen or heard or played it. I will say, the game is teeming with nostalgia, so if you weren't a gamer (or alive) in the 80s and 90s, you might not be as impressed with the game as much as someone who was, as the game pays homage to this period of time with numerous references to music, movies and video games from this era.

Some might think Super Time Force is cheesy. And maybe it is. But if you like Big Trouble in Little China, Def Leppard and Contra, then this is a game for you.

The game description straight from Capy's website gives you a peek at what to expect.

Wikipedia describes it as,

Super Time Force is a side-scrolling shooter video game by Capybara Games for the Xbox 360's Live Arcade service and Xbox One. It was released on May 14, 2014. In the game, Colonel Repeatski sends the Super Time Force, a time-traveling military organization, to prehistoric times to save the dinosaurs from extinction. Bosses include a cybernetic Tyrannosaurus and an asteroid. Players have 30 lives to run through bullet hell levels. When the player dies or voluntarily ends the run, the player can view and rewind their timestream to revisit the life of a prior player-character's run or otherwise restart with a new run.

But all you really need to know is the game is just downright fun. It uses some common themes and elements from other classic games and couples it with some witty dialogue and interesting game play mechanics to produce a game for a current generation console that feels a lot like a retro game from the past. The commentary is sure to make you chuckle (and if it doesn't, hopefully Colonel Repeatski's double eye patch will) and the tense game play is sure to challenge your side-scrolling shooter skills.

Perhaps the most interesting element native to this game is the fact it almost celebrates and even rewards you when your character dies. I know this might sound bizarre, and I don't want to talk about it too much and risk spoiling any of the details - but if you've played the game then you are familiar with what I'm talking about, and if you want to play the game you'll know as soon as it happens, as it is a principle feature of the game.

I'm not a huge fan of comedy in video games, unless it is done right. The problem is I have a weird sense of humor so the obvious comedy routines are usually lost on me, but the little obscure details can actually get me to laugh out loud, and this game is jam-packed with plenty of those moments. Just reading the intro to the game reminds of a time we now consider old school (yes, you have to read the intro).

Super Time Force is not a game for everyone, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience and a refreshing change of pace that will almost certainly remind you of our roots and where it all started. Having played it now, I want to watch old reruns of A-Team and play some Contra. I applaud Capy for the bold approach they took with the game and for creating such a simple yet complex game that is just fun to play.

Happy Hump Day.