As titles go, Time Recoil’s moniker is a missed opportunity.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the game itself; this top down-shooter is a fun little blast. But given that it seeks to evoke the look and feel of 80s action movies, “Chronoslaughter” would surely have been a better name for the game, or “Crime Machine” at the very least. Fortunately, 10tons, the company behind this Hotline Miami-a-like have otherwise nailed the 80s aesthetic.
Time Recoil’s plot is, in true 80s fashion, complete and utter nonsense, pitching you against an evil mastermind known as “Mr Time”. A convenient lab accident has given you the ability to both travel through time and run rings around your foes, which proves particularly useful when you’re blasting your way through the game’s garish levels. Blast an enemy and you briefly enter bullet time, shoot another and you gain more bullet time; combat quickly becoming a gruesome slow-motion ballet.
Don’t get too cocky, though, because there’s also an element of strategy in play here. If you’re not out of the line of fire when your bullet time runs out, you’ll quickly find yourself outclassed by the heavily armed guards. On many occasions my glee at having slaughtered the game’s (presumably) villainous enemies disappeared when several others rounded the corner, finding me standing over their comrades’ corpses. Whoops. Other powers come into play as the game progresses, including the ability to travel through walls, last seen in Mr Shifty, another Hotline Miami style title.
Time Recoil’s levels aren’t the most varied around, though it could be argued that it’s in keeping with the game’s homage to 80s action flicks. You’ll find yourself blasting and zapping around several near-identical warehouses and office buildings as you attempt to fix time… or something? Time Recoil’s plot isn’t particularly memorable either, and since the game takes place mostly in the eighties, you don’t get to shoot cavemen or take on Genghis Khan’s hordes with an assault rifle.
But limited temporal window aside, Time Recoil is a heck of a lot of fun, offering a level of sheer mayhem that easily matches Hotline Miami. Comboing your way through seven guards and then dropping to real time, all accompanied by an eighties synth soundtrack, is a genuinely (and gruesomely) satisfying experience. If timey-wimey murder-wurder appeals to you, Time Recoil is currently available on PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PS4.
It still should have been called Chronoslaughter, though.