Awhile back I was given a review copy of No Time To Explain, a platformer/action game by tinyBuild Games. Now that I’ve made it about halfway through the main game I think it’s a good time to post my thoughts on the game so far. Especially since we’ll be giving away several copies here on the site!
(Check here for details on how to win a copy: http://cheerfulghost.com/jdodson/posts/1564)

First, let’s talk about the good.

The core mechanic of the game revolves around a powerful gun that your future self delivers to you in the present. In addition to working as a gun it also works as a jet pack. It’s one of those easy to learn but difficult to master game mechanics and figuring out how to navigate the levels without dying is where the majority of the fun can be found.

And those levels ARE out to kill you. Bottomless pits and instant death spikes abound. This might have been frustrating, but since there really is no penalty for dying, it never bothered me while going through the levels. The game is very good about placing you on the last safe surface you stood on, so once you clear a particular obstacle you rarely have to redo it when you die.

Each new level introduces some new game mechanic that you have to use to reach the end of the end of the level. I wanted to keep this review spoiler free, so I won’t talk about the specifics of these mechanics, but they do help mix things up and keep the game from getting overly repetitive.

Now, the bad.

The controls for the game can be difficult. The gun/jetpack always fires in the direction of your mouse cursor. However, as you are moving around your character does not stay centered and even though you don’t move the cursor, your gun is now shooting in a different direction and this usually causes you to die or end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. At times I felt like I made it around obstacles through sheer luck and not because of skill. But again, because death is such a minor set back this wasn’t a huge problem.

My big complaint is with the boss fights. They seem kind of tacked on and pointless. For the first couple bosses all you do is just hold down the mouse button to keep firing when you’re not dead (and the bosses will kill you A LOT). Since there is no penalty (other than time) for dying, there’s no real incentive to try and avoid the multitude of attacks coming your way. That is until you get to the mole boss, which is where I ultimately stopped playing.

For this boss the game kind of rewrites its own rules by restarting the fight from the beginning if you die. This caught me by surprise seeing as the rest of the game doesn’t work this way, but that’s not what drove me to give up. What ultimately drove me nuts was that this boss has several attacks that don’t kill you, but instead knock you into a pit that’s difficult to get out of. The pits are just deep enough that you have to have a perfectly executed jump to get out and I spent far more time fighting the pits than I did the boss. I eventually gave up and moved on to playing some of the bonus levels I had apparently unlocked at some point.

Although I never experienced any bugs, I’ve noticed several complaints on various forums that others have had some real trouble with game breaking bugs.

The bottom line.

Overall I would say this is a good game with a few big problems. It’s hard to say if I’ll come back to the game. On the one hand, I don’t really have that much patience for a boss fight I don’t really want to play in the first place. On the other, I do actually want to play more of the levels, which (control difficulties aside) are actually quite fun. If you have the patience to get through the bosses then I would recommend you catch this game when it’s on sale (or as part of a give away! :) )

Agree or disagree with any part of the review? Sound off in the comments! I’m curious to know what others think of the game.

More info: http://tinybuild.com/

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