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pax 2013

Super Time Force

In Super Time Force, Dying Is The Best Way To Live
by Matt Bertz on Sep 01, 2013 at 06:02 PM

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Platform Xbox One, Xbox 360
Publisher Capybara Games
Developer Capybara Games
Rating Teen

When we first laid eyes on Super Time Force, we sung the praises of its retro style, fun-loving sense of humor, and clever time altering mechanic. With the game essentially content complete, developer Capybara Games infiltrated PAX Prime with a brand new build to show off.

Channeling the wacky sensibilities of the '80s Saturday morning cartoons, Super Time Force follows a band of characters who travel back in time (and into the future) to right the wrongs of the world. Instead of addressing big ticket issues like the Holocaust or Lincoln assassination, this elite squad has more pressing concerns, like preventing the extinction of dinosaurs and traveling into the future to download Internet plug-ins so they don't have to sit through years of tedious updates.

Like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, you visit the various time periods you recruit new blood to your cause. Each new character is a clever spin on an '80s icons, such as the skateboarding dinosaur Zackasaurus (think Poochie from The Simpsons) and chain-gun toting Jean Rambois (pretty self explanatory). All the characters have unique attacks and special charged abilities. Each time traveling ass-kicker also wields the capability to reverse time if things go wrong. Since one bullet puts you down, things will definitely go wrong, but losing a life is far from game over. Upon dying, you can rewind to whatever point in the past you want and drop back into the game with either the same person or another one of the 15 characters (a number that Capy president Nathan Vella says is still subject to change).

When you give it another go, the ghosts of your previous attempts tag along for the fight, taking down the same enemies as before and ultimately suffering the same fate unless you can kill their assailants before they meet their doom. Doing so gives your current character the ability to absorb their charge skills for one use. You can stack several of these onto a character at once, which deliver some explosive payloads. In a nod to the Contra code, players have 30 rewinds to use in each level. Some people may need all of these to survive, but skilled players can earn badges for using them sparingly.

If you're having trouble moving through a particular section, sometimes it's wise to rewind and redouble your efforts with a hero better suited for the encounter. Need to break a constant barrage of gunfire? Shieldy Blockerson is your man (er, robot). Is an enemy camping behind a barrier? Use Lassie Sniperz's ability to shoot through cover. Herein lies a surprising depth of strategy; savvy players can string together a series of rewinds to put on a formidable display of time-traveling badassery. Doing so in a timely manner is paramount, because each level must be completed in 60 seconds.

Combining forces is also the best strategy for quickly dealing with bosses. The PAX demo featured a large poo monster who isn't taken down easily. Players won't often have enough time left on the clock to handle situations like this with with one character, so the better play is to stack your offensive capabilities with multiple characters as the same time.

When you first jump into the game, Super Time Force can be overwhelming. The screen is action-packed, with bullets flying from multiple directions and busy backdrops distracting the eye. I died foolishly and repeatedly during my brief hands on time, but rather then dropping the controller and walking away in frustration, I instead wanted to spend more time with the time scrubbing mechanic to learn its nuances. If Super Time Force can successfully urge players to give the game another go after each failure instead of making them pull their hair out, much like Dark Souls it could attract an eager audience searching for a more challenging experience than most modern games afford.

Look for the game to hit Xbox Live later this year.

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Super Time Forcecover

Super Time Force

Xbox One, Xbox 360
Release Date: