Super Time Force Review

An intriguing, yet slightly confusing time rewind mechanic masks what is an otherwise average retro-inspired shooter.

Release Date: May 14, 2014Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), Xbox 360Developer: Capybara GamesPublisher: Capybara GamesGenre: Shooter


Have you ever wished that you could go back in time and redo something in the past to make your future, well, better? Of course you have. And you’re in luck, because this just so happens to be the basic premise of Super Time Force from Capybara Games, a retro-inspired sidescrolling shooter with a zany time manipulation twist. There’s a lot more on the line here when it comes to this game, though: like the fate of all humankind, for starters. But is time travel a truly great innovation in this instance, or are we just going to be forced to repeat the pitfalls of sidescrolling history?

The most amusing part of Super Time Force is actually its story, and the hysterical ramblings of Colonel Repeatski, who often speaks like a 16-year-old girl sending an excited text message (“KTHNXBYE!”). There is also an equally crazy antagonist named Dr. Infinity, who can utilize time travel as well, and has his own set of wacky personal issues like the heroic Repeatski. Though a good leader at heart with many decorated medals on his uniform (despite his double eye patches), each mission briefing that Repeatski gives to the Super Time Force is more wondrously ridiculous than the last.

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For instance, one of them is the result of Repeatski going back in time, hooking up with Cleopatra, but then getting so bored of their love-child, Cleopatra Jr., that he wants to go forward in time to a point when he can actually interact with her like a person. Another mission occurs because Repeatski is annoyed by having to download new updates and plugins to watch the latest “LOL cat video” on the internet. A third exists simply because he thinks it would be cool to coexist with dinosaurs. This also leads to some very fun and diverse environments, from the far future to the prehistoric ages.

The different members of the Super Time Force each have their own unique abilities to change up the gameplay, although I often found myself greatly favoring some of them like Jef Leppard and his giant bazooka way more than the others. You’ll be able to rescue a handful of other team members throughout your journey, and the overall feel of each level (and even the level select screen) gives off a strong Mega Man vibe.

The main gimmick here that sets Super Time Force apart from your typical retro platformer is the manipulation of time known as Time Out, which effectively lets you pause the action whenever you want, and then literally rewind things in case you die or want to retry a certain section with a faster time, kind of like Braid. You’ll usually start each mission with a limited stock of 30 rewinds, although this number can be increased incrementally by scooping up certain collectables.

But you didn’t think that time travel was going to be as simple as that, did you? After using the Time Out function, you’ll then see the ghost of your last character repeating the very same actions until their inevitable demise, with their bullets actually helping you defeat the bad guys now present on your current run. When your past characters reach the end of their timeline, you’ll have the option to save them from the past, which boosts up your own currently controlled character with double the attack power.

This rewinding concept is meant to be greatly compounded and utilized with different characters so that you’ll ideally have an entire army pumping lead into a boss, and depleting its health bar within seconds. Now if this sounds a bit confusing, well that’s because it is. And to be honest, sometimes the inner workings of the game’s time mechanics still seem a bit confusing to me even now, and the hectic multiple-character battles that happen concurrently onscreen are never any less frantic.

Unfortunately, without the often dense Time Out mechanic, everything else about the gameplay in Super Time Force screams of an average sidescrolling shooter. None of the different levels or boss fights are all that memorable by design, and many of your characters feel like they aren’t really suited for the game’s tacked-on, bullet-hell delivery of difficulty. But for the seriously whacked-out sense of humor alone, and the interesting, albeit confusing use of time, Super Time Force is still one game that you’ll want to check out: even if only for a brief moment in time.

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3.5 out of 5