Your family gets murdered. You gain access to time control, and will be visiting present and past versions of the world. That’s Timespinner. Centered around revenge and saving your family, you will go on a 2D journey. You will discover new weapons, powers, and equipment to help vanquish your foes. There’s even a touch of co-op, as someone can join in as the “familiar” companion. With different endings and new-game-plus mode, you get to choose how much of the story you want to see. You use orbs to attack enemies and can even stop time to solve puzzles or get into hard to reach places. Enemies will appear again when you revisit areas, meaning you can kill them to farm gear or potions. It’s almost like an RPG in the fact you can level everything up.
It’s one of the best platformers I have played.
Here’s what I liked:
Arsenal — It’s kind of like Mega Man in a sense, that you have a main weapon and then a power that you can unleash by holding the same button to create a charge. However, it’s an evolved version of that style of combat. There are tons of different weapons you find throughout the game, known as orbs. Different elemental effects are given to them, meaning some are weak or strong versus an enemy or boss. You can craft necklaces that give you a different hold power once you’ve discovered certain orbs. There is also a passive that is granted through the use of rings. Because you have two hands, you can hold two different orbs. This allows for experimentation through holding different orbs and gear. There are literally well over a thousand different combinations you can use. Of course, not all are good, so you’ll have to discover what works best for you. What’s especially convenient, is that you can switch through three different setups on the fly, or even change them by hitting the start button. This is exactly what I want in a game, seemingly unlimited options.
Orbal Combat — There are lots of combinations, but is it even fun? I’m going to let you know, it is. Especially during the end game where you can replay a dungeon to try everything out. I always opted to use the same orbs in each hand because it seemed more fluid. My favorite ones are Iron, Forbidden Tome, and Radiant. The hammer from iron does massive damage and can kill enemies very quickly. The tome one can shoot out swords that are great for long distance. The radiant is more of an area of effect blast which helps killing things below or above you. I tried all the others, and they were all pretty cool. I absolutely love the gameplay with the orbs. Using the charged power is also a blast (no pun intended). There are so many, and they can really get you out of a bind with a boss or when there are tons of enemies on screen. I can’t stress enough how good the combat feels.
Come At Me, Boss — Like most 2D platformers, there are bosses to defeat. Some are optional and some even give you different endings. There are some really interesting ones that I enjoyed fighting. They have a weakness to certain elements, so your damage done to them is based around what you’re using. If losing a lot, you can switch up your equipment to see what is doing more damage. There’s also skill involved, learning their attacks and knowing how to avoid injury. If playing a second time through, you can look in your journal and see exactly what they are weak to. It can make a difference in a fast win if you have the right power equipped. There is a Crow boss in the special dungeon that I hated. He moves around a lot and it was an annoying battle. I figured out that the Djinn Inferno power does an extreme amount of damage to him. He quickly became my favorite boss because I could launch four giant balls of magma at him to score a quick defeat. He probably started to hate me.
Completionist — I’m a sucker for completing everything to 100%. After completing the game, you can go back and grab everything you missed! Collectibles, uncovering all of the map areas, and gaining all familiars and orb gear is all tied to various achievements. There’s even a new-game-plus mode that allows you to take your overpowered character into a new challenge. You’ll want to get everything done before doing so because you’ll have to do quests and collecting all over again. There’s an ability that you get very late in your adventure which allows you to basically fly vertically. This allows easy access to everything. Once you’ve obtained all abilities, it’s addicting trying to complete everything possible. I couldn’t stop playing until I had everything. If time is a concern, I’m happy to say that accomplishing all achievements will only take around 15 hours. I’d say this is the perfect amount of time to spend in any story-driven game.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Experience Distribution — With all the orbs and choices of setups, it’s sad they don’t level up together. During most of the game, I became accustomed to the Ore orb and starting to ignore everything else. When you find a new orb weapon, it starts at level one. I felt like I couldn’t even try it out because I already had a very powerful one. This doesn’t hold true the whole time. When you get access to the last dungeon, you can replay it as much as you want. You will be gaining beads, which allow you to level up an orb five times. It grants you the ability to level up the orbs you like very quickly. My only concern was it happens too late. You’ll only really get the opportunity to fight with a handful of them. There are also companions you gain which suffer the same fate. They all start at level one too. They don’t do a whole lot, so it’s not that big of a deal. I just wish things would share the experience because it’s the kind of game where you want to try everything out.
No Time to Stop Time — On top of all the sweet combat, there’s also the ability to stop time. My biggest issue was I never had many chances to use it. This was my choice because you can’t kill enemies while time is stopped. I only used it to jump on some enemies to reach higher areas. Other than that, I barely used it. I guess it would be great for running through areas that have a lot of enemies, but it’s not necessary, especially during the later portions. It’s more of an “oh yeah, I can stop time” kind of thing. It’s in the background, something you kind of forget about. When an enemy gives you a chaos effect, it drains your sand and you can’t use the power. During these moments, I laughed, not wanting to use that power anyways as they faced my orbs of destruction. I think there could have been a better balance with this ability.
Everything about Timespinner is excellent. There are only a few very minor things I personally didn’t care for, but they have no bearing on actually being negative. With an assortment of firepower, you’ll love trying out all of the orbs and jewlrey. The time to complete everything is perfect, being right around the 15-hour mark. You can keep doing new-game-plus if you can’t get enough action and become addicted to leveling up everything, which have a cap of level 999. I really would enjoy some DLC or even a sequel. It’s one of the few games of recent times that I can say that I adore. The last platformer I fell head over heels for was Owlboy. However those games can stay in the past, because Timespinner is a fabulous entry and avoids the pressure of being another rogue-lite clone.
Score: Must Buy
Timespinner was published by Chucklefish and developed by Lunar Ray Games on Xbox One. It was released on June 4, 2019, for $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.