App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Did you ever play Neon Chrome? If you didn’t, you should, and then you should play Time Recoil. 10tons has put out yet another great dual-stick shooter, only this time they’ve swapped out cyberpunk aesthetics and roguelike mechanics for an 80s vibe and slo-mo powers. This makes Time Recoil a bit of a spiritual successor to Neon Chrome in many ways, and it’s a great one at that.
Slow down, what?
Time Recoil is a level-based dual-stick shooter and it’s primary gimmick is that killing people slows down time. To add to this, chaining together multiple kills slows time down further and unlocks certain special powers. It’s a neat effect that makes you feel like you’re playing in an action movie, but it’s not only there to make you look cool. Entering slo-mo helps you dodge bullets, which is important in a game where it only takes one bullet to kill you.
Every level in Time Recoil is designed around this time manipulation mechanic, meaning that you can’t just walk around guns blazing the whole time. Careful timing of kills to extend your time dilation powers is not only a good idea in most cases; it’s also sometimes required to solve puzzles or specific combat scenarios.
The powers you control in Time Recoil aren’t just there as an arbitrary mechanic. Your character has unique abilities around the manipulation of time that are key to the overall plot of the game. The details of Time Recoil’s narrative aren’t exactly the most entrancing, but they do involve time hopping between the 1970s and 1980s to take down a big bad guy named Mr. Time. More exciting than the story are some surprise references the game makes, particularly if you’ve already played previous 10tons games.
Although the story isn’t particularly strong, that hardly matters because you’ll end up spending most of your time in Time Recoil on mastering levels as they get more chaotic and complicated. This might sound like it could get frustrating, but most of the fun of Time Recoil is finding the "perfect" way to beat a level. Once you’ve finished the game’s story, you can even go back and hone your skills even further in a Time Attack Mode, which is a thankful addition to the package that adds to its replayability.
Time Recoil is an extremely demanding shooter, which makes it sound like it might only be enjoyable for those that own MFi controllers. Thankfully though, some very smart decisions went into the design of Time Recoil’s controls, which make it a blast on both touchscreens and controllers.
If playing using a controller, Time Recoil plays just like any old dual-stick shooter and requires that players use the precision granted by physical controls to surmount its challenges. If you play using touch though, the game provides auto-aim so you can work around its virtualized controls more easily. Each control method has its pros and cons, but they generally end up providing a consistent amount of challenge without ever feeling frustrating.
The bottom line
Time Recoil gets high marks purely because of how inventive its levels are and how well the game controls. The time-slowing mechanics here aren’t necessarily revolutionary, and the game’s story is pretty bland, but the way Time Recoil builds around these conceits while controlling like a dream makes it a fantastic follow up to Neon Chrome, and an amazing dual-stick shooter in its own right.