Developer: Lunar Ray Games
Genre: Adventure, RPG, Action
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 12
Release Date: 04/06/19
Price: £14.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Timespinner is a Metroidvania game inspired by everything that made the 90’s great. As you play through it, you will see heavy influences from many different games but none so prominent as the Castlevania series. That’s not a negative thing; in fact, it’s a positive.
The game’s story starts somewhat fantastical, and to avoid spoilers we shall say nothing more than that. However, as you progress, there is a realness to it all that adds depth and quality. There will be moments where you will pause and reflect on what a character has said.
From LGBTQ positivity to the general standards we would all like to live our lives by, Timespinner is undoubtedly a game with a message.
The art style for the game is just gorgeous. The pixel art style works so well for this style of game and the homage it pays to its predecessors. The two core worlds are distinct and very different, despite being the same map. The locations within each world are similarly diverse, lovingly crafted and fun to explore. The colour palette is anything but monochromatic, and this vibrancy adds to the depth of each world.
The soundtrack and sound effects for this game are an excellent fit for the 90’s style. In a similar way to how watching Stranger Things makes you long for the 80s, playing Timespinner has the same effect. While playing, you are not playing a piece of nostalgia. Instead, you are transported back in time and are sitting in the 1990s playing on your parents’ big screen, goldfish bowl television.
It would have been nice to have a little more voice acting or some form of intonation while different characters were speaking, but that is just nitpicking for the sake of it.
Timespinner is a fun game with a surprisingly deep story. The platforming elements are fun while relatively straight forward, different abilities can be unlocked, including the double jump. For those looking to 100% the game, the double jump is a requirement.
There is one additional mechanic that this game possesses which truly sets it apart. The main character Lunais can stop time. When done correctly, you can freeze an enemy in mid-air and use them as a platform for reaching previously inaccessible locations.
There is an element of puzzle solving in the game, and that is where the double map comes into play. Played in both the past and the present, action taken in some areas in the past can impact the map when travelling to the future. In the interest of preserving the game’s story, we won’t say any more than that at this stage. Seeing these links and exploring outside of the boundaries of the twenty-three quests that need to be solved will reveal bonuses, treasures, and collectables that offer a clever and deep level of world building that give the game some extra depth.
The game also supports local co-op, as, during her adventures, Lunais befriends a small dragon who helps her on her way. It is possible for a second player to join the game and play as the dragon.
There are several boss fights littered throughout the game, and while they do correlate to certain quests, it is possible to explore the world and uncover them ahead of time. This can, at times, put the game out of sequence, but that is only for those that go out of their way to explore the world. The boss fights are fun, but there is a very recognisable pattern to them all, and once you see it, the fights themselves become nothing more than a matter of timing your strikes.
The game comes with several difficulties including a Nightmare mode that is unlocked once you complete the game the first time around.
Unless you are looking to speedrun the game, then I don’t see too much room for replayability here. There are ways to glitch the game and break sequence, and I know this as I did it once myself during my playthroughs. It should be noted that I went through each quest one by one, so there could be other ways that people reach the ending and thus would have reason to go back for another run. However, it’s a 100% once and done title.
Before you get disheartened, there is nothing wrong with that. Not all games are made to be replayed again and again. If you love it, you will play it regardless, and if you like it, you will have a good time and move on.
Timespinner is a solid game and a great throwback to the Metroidvania titles of years past. The games upon whose back the genre was built and still rests today. While some may get a little tired with the constant jumping between time periods and retravelling through the same hallways, for those that appreciate this genre of game, Timespinner has the chance to cement itself into the echelons of Metroidvania history.
The game is a little short, and the quests could do with being a little longer, or at least forcing you to use the Timespinner mechanic a little more often, but these are minor imperfections in an otherwise excellent game.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Timespinner from Nintendo eShop at the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Timespinner-1571801.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.