Butterfly effect be damned in this terrific twin-stick shooter.
The roots of the successful twin-stick shooter engine developed by 10Tons dates back to 2003, with the release of Crimsonland for Windows. Since then, the developer has re-released and iterated on that engine for different games. Time Recoil is the third variation of this line and like its predecessors, provides an enjoyable experience using the twin-stick shooter framework while still applying its own unique spin on the genre.
For fans of Neon Chrome, which is the first release on Nintendo Switch from 10Tons but the second to utilize the engine, an initial feeling of déjà vu might hit. The structure of the games feel very familiar, both utilize a top-down view of a character making their way through a warehouse/office, multi-room level. What makes Time Recoil unique is a time-based mechanic that provides the player with a bullet-time ability. When an enemy is defeated, the environment around the player is slowed down and a timer begins. If another enemy can be killed within the allotted time, the timer will reset, providing the player with continued increased speed over the bad guys.
As progression is made through the game, additional powers are provided and can be banked when you chain kills within the timer. The first ability is earned after two chained kills and provides the player with a banked rush attack that can plow through multiple enemies and walls. From there, you can earn a radius attack that will kill all enemies within a circle, with the maximum power-up coming after 8 kills, which is essentially a stoppage in time. Within the stopped time, you are able to walk freely with nothing moving around you, firing multiple bullets that will remain stationary until the stopped time period is over and the bullets then meet their targets.
As with most stories that deal in time travel, things become a convoluted mess pretty quickly. The premise is that a dictator has conquered Europe using a time eater device and a rebel group is assisting the protagonist in finding a way of preventing the past events to change the present. The present is 1987 and most levels take place in the past 10 to 20 years as the protagonist changes the past and returns to the present to assess what has changed. I lost track of what was going on pretty early, but it didn’t affect my experience as the main enjoyment is experimenting with the time mechanics.
Time Recoil is the perfect follow up for anyone that enjoyed Neon Chrome. It takes the structure that made Neon so great, but replaces the RPG and roguelike elements with the time mechanics, creating a whole new experience. Time Recoil is my third experience with this line of games from 10Tons and although I do still enjoy Neon Chrome more, this one comes in at a close second.