Gamers have been trained over the years to avoid all incoming fire, for obvious reasons. Yet, this isn’t necessarily always the best strategy in Capybara’s Super Time Force. Sometimes, dying is the only way to survive; and trust me, you will die plenty. Think Contra with a fun and colorful pixel art style, multiple characters, and a time rewind function which allows the player to retry things and stack on power-ups as you save your previously killed characters.
I have been a fan of Capy since their release of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP in 2011. It is such a solid game, with so many interesting mechanics stacked on top of tried and true structures from games in the past. If you haven’t played that yet, go do so right now. Super Time Force is no different in terms of adding onto well established game formats, but also with silly references to past culture icons, such as “Jean Rambois” and “Jef Leppard.”
Andres and I had a brief chance to play the game, and we kept bringing up how badly we wanted to continue playing it back at the hotel. It has all the twitch gameplay I love, along with one of the most interesting mechanics I’ve seen in a side-scrolling shooter like this.
It works like this: select your character, each one with different primary/secondary abilities. Fight your way through the level until you are hit (one shot kills you). Rewind time and stop wherever you like, selecting your character again. From here, your previously killed player becomes a ghost with a timer above his/her head, representing the time until they will meet their demise in the exact same manner as before. The goal is to kill the baddie that previously killed you, at which point you are able to rescue the ghost, thus stacking their firepower onto your current playthrough. I believe Capy said this can be done up to three times, meaning you can have four different types of firepower if you’re really good.
Easier said than done, though. I got my ass kicked, and this is usually my kind of difficulty. It gets really overwhelming to watch the ghosts and the enemies at the same time. But as I said, I only had five or so minutes with the game.
There is also an overall countdown timer at play, with little clock pick-ups scattered around the level that add seconds to the timer. It’s game over if you run out of time, so moving quickly adds pressure and intensity to the gameplay. Super Time Force is one of my favorite games at PAX this year. With the game nearly complete, Capy plans for a 2013 release only on XBLA. Add this to my list of day one purchases.