Super Time Force was developed and published by Capybara Games. It was released May 14, 2014 on Xbox One and Xbox 360 for $14.99/£11.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.
Super Time Force (STF) is a game that wears its 8-bit inspired graphics with nothing but the utmost pride. At its simplest, this is a Contra-style shooter with one hell of a modern twist to keep things interesting. As you might expect from this kind of game, the action predominantly takes place from left to right as players battle their way towards the inevitable massive boss encounter — the twist, however, is that there is absolutely no chance of (or incentive to) finish levels with just one life. That’s right folks, the clue is in the name: in STF, players are actively encouraged to roll back time, pick another character and repeat stages over and over again.
Of course, you might ask, why bother? Well, Super Time Force doesn’t just allow players to retry sections of a level after failure; it actually encourages rewinding (“Timeout”), changing characters and replaying sections to maximise collectables and because of a mechanic that Capy calls “single-player co-op.” This idea basically works by having the ghost of each previous attempt fight alongside the current character to deal damage, collect stuff and protect the live player with abilities like blocking. When a previously killed ghost survives as the result of a later playthrough, that ghost then becomes a power-up for the current player as a little thank you. Make sense? Don’t worry if it doesn’t, you’ll get the hang of things and the system will become second nature within no time at all.
Approximately 30 seconds after picking up a controller to try Capybara’s Below, I was ready to call it quits. Don’t get me wrong – Below was the absolute best thing I saw at PAX, and I doubt that anyone on the XBLA Fans PAX East team would disagree. But a game built on the twin foundations of exploration and discovery is a game that should be played, as Capy president and co-founder Nathan Vella eloquently put it, “on my couch at home with the lights off.”
It’s not just that the deafening, stroboscopic show floor at PAX East isn’t the best venue at which to play Capy’s latest effort. Below is a journey that players should approach with as little prior knowledge as possible, and figuring out how to play is meant to be almost as much of an adventure as the game itself.
“We have no text. There are no tutorials. There are no waypoints or directors or very little UI of any type,” says Vella. “You explore the island, eventually find your way into the depths, but you’re also exploring: what are the controls? How nimble am I? Why am I so small? Why am I weak? That exploration really feeds every element of the game.”
Some pretty huge news came out of the Independent Games Festival with a brand new game and a soon-to-be-released game winning one of the big prizes. Before we start big, Capybara Games’ Super T.I.M.E. Force won the XBLA prize which ensures publishing and funding by Microsoft for the upcoming title. The trailer looks insane with questions of 12 player co-op or the amount of enemies on screen is amazing. It looks sort of like Metal Slug in crazy space. No pricing or date announced but watch the trailer so you know what craziness to expect.