From Finnish developer 10tons, Time Recoil is a repetitive, yet fun twin-stick shooter in the same vein as Hotline Miami. Games I’ve played that were similar to this one were bloodbaths, where I would kill waves of enemies while I completed some random task. That type of pace doesn’t work here.
Time Recoil is not meant to be a run and gun type of experience. Early in the game, that strategy may work, but since you die from one hit, you eventually have to play the game like chess. Most enemies do not move from their post, but those that do require you to learn their pattern. Also with how the camera works, you may need to try to scout ahead and develop a strategy as you progress. And be prepared to die a lot while you develop your plan or path through each level, again due to die after one hit.
Time-altering abilities and temporary gun upgrades, such as those in the Contra series, serve as powerful tools to assist your time-traveling missions. Every time you kill an enemy, time slows for a brief period, and if you can kill multiple enemies in this state, you are awarded increasingly powerful powers.
If you kill two enemies, you can dash through thin walls and even enemies, killing them. Kill four enemies, and your dash now sends out a blast that affects a cone-shaped area in front of you. Dispatch six evildoers, and you get a psyblast, blasting a circular area ahead of you. Take out eight minions, and you are awarded the coveted time-stop, where you mean freely among the frozen level. Combine those time powers with the rapid-fire SMG, powerful shotgun, or wall-penetrating assault rifle, and you’ve got a just enough depth to keep the combat fun.
What is not fun, however, is the throwaway story that was jammed into Time Recoil. The very brief story points between each mission are there solely to separate one mission from another, and they are poorly written. I mean the main villain is Mr. Time… Anyway, the levels are all relatively the same, being some form or another of a lab or office. But the synth pop, 80’s music fit the theme and setting quite well.
Time Recoil is a fun, addictive game that while having a hollow story and samey missions, provides about 4 to 6 hours of quality twin-sticks shooter gameplay. The time-manipulating mechanics, gun changes, and one-hit-kill set up craft a thoughtful experience in a normally fast-paced genre. Time Recoil makes a great addition to your Nintendo Switch, PS4, XBOX ONE, or PC, especially if you only have about 30 minutes to jump into a game.