Amongst the trove of pixel-art, retro looking, nostalgia grabbing games that are seemingly released every week Super Time Force Ultra provides so much more for players.
The art, soundtrack and humour are all spot-on, but the most refreshing part is the game’s Time-Out feature, which allows you to rewind time.
STFU see’s you take control of the Super Time Force, who under Commander Repeatski are sent back in time to alter various points of history all in the name of making the present day much cooler.
Travelling through varied time periods such as 1,000,000 BC, 199X and 3072 provides you with unique settings, making each level feel incredibly different from the last and you’ll never see two environments that look or feel the same.
Most importantly, the invention of time travel allows the members of Super Time Force to use Time-Out’s in order to solve puzzles and take out enemies in quicker, easier and more unique ways.
You are given 60 seconds to complete each level and 30 opportunities to use the Time-Out mechanic, which you’ll be forced to use in multiple different ways in a single level.
At times you’ll be made to use a Time-Out to spawn two or more unique characters in tandem to take out an enemy, while at other stages you’ll need to rewind time after going off to unlock a new character or grab a collectable, or rewind to an earlier part of the level to take advantage of your new-found knowledge of the rest of the level so you can complete it before the time runs out.
It also comes in handy during boss battles, where you can spawn a bunch of characters to take them out more efficiently.
The Time-Out mechanic is well explained through the tutorial level, which is challenging enough to actually force you to get the hang of it, but not too tough that it starts to discourage you from playing on.
The 60-second time limit meshes well with the Time-Out mechanic, and when the timer starts to tick down below ten seconds an enjoyable sense of panic begins to set in.
At the end of each level you’re shown one continuous replay of your run, which is quite entertaining to watch and very helpful in showing you where you missed various items and how you could’ve handled situations better.
This is a particularly useful feature for those who are obsessed with completing everything the game has to offer.
Most levels offer you a solid challenge without being frustrating, as it’s usually all your fault if you mess up.
Super Time Force Ultra places a strong emphasis on trial & error when it comes to getting past the roadblocks in each level and it’s actually really fun to try and work out the best way through a level, which plays a big part in the games replayability.
On completion of the game a New Game+ mode unlocks which adds greater difficulty to the game as well as a lure to play the entire game again.
Unlocking all the characters adds to the replayability too, as it’s quite easy to miss several characters when playing through the game for the first time (I missed at least seven).
Players have a number of characters to choose from and the PS4 edition of Super Time Force Ultra includes PlayStation exclusive characters such as The Order 1886’s Sir Galahad and President of Sony Worldwide Studies Shuhei Yoshida.
Unfortunately during my play-through I found that I rarely had to use any characters outside of Jef Leppard, Dolphin Lundgren and Sir Galahad.
Occasionally I would need to use Shieldy Blockerson’s shield abilities or Amy McKillen’s ricochet bullets, but these times were few and far between.
The Time-Out mechanic also makes the action on the screen too chaotic at times.
As you spawn more and more characters you lose track of where your current character is, and despite making your characters from the past appear more transparent on the screen you’ll still get lost if there’s more than a handful present.
Some boss battles also become laughably easy if you know how to use the Time-Out feature correctly.
It soon becomes apparent that if you continually rewind to the start of a boss battle and keep peppering them you’ll eventually defeat the boss thanks to the 30 lives you are given.
In fact, the boss battles were some of the easiest portions of the game.
Missions involving jetpacks appear periodically throughout the game and quickly become very annoying, but thankfully these levels aren’t heavily featured and are well spaced out.
Despite these flaws, Super Time Force Ultra is a superb game.
It looks beautiful, while the soundtrack is insanely catchy and never becomes repetitive, which is a real testament as you’ll be hearing certain parts of a song over and over again as you rewind time.
The humour hits the spot too, although occasionally it becomes a little too meme heavy.
Super Time Force Ultra brings something new and fresh in an age where so many indie games are cashing in off the same premise. It’s a joy to play through, and despite some occasional hiccups with the gameplay and difficulty Capybara Games have crafted a brilliant game.