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Time Carnage Review: Not a Waste of Time

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The mere thought of another virtual reality wave-based shooter may elicit a groan from many players.

For me, however, the idea of Time Carnage was enticing. Letting you travel through multiple time periods shooting zombies, dinosaurs and more with a wide variety of weapons, I was instantly sold on its premise, as simple as it may be. And I’m happy to say that in most regards it doesn’t disappoint.

Time Carnage is a game overflowing with content. There’s a campaign mode, an arcade mode and plenty of challenges. There’s also a huge number of guns, and sixteen stages in which to create mayhem. Most of that content is locked at the outset, however. To unlock a chunk of it, you’ll first have to tackle Time Carnage‘s campaign mode.

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A time-consuming experience

Making your way through Time Carnage‘s campaign mode will take you a fair while. Especially if, like me, you can only stomach a stage or two at time. And I don’t mean that in a “I started to feel sick so I had to turn it off” kinda way. More of a “Time Carnage is best enjoyed in small doses” kinda way.

You see, each stage has you blasting your way through 10 waves of enemies, and while most stages throw them at you at a decent pace, some let them just trickle towards you. There’s no movement involved – you just stand on the spot and watch for enemies emerging from numerous directions – but what make Time Carnage fun is the way it handles your weaponry.

At the start of each stage you choose four weapons out of those that you have unlocked. When in-game, each of them will hover above their own pedestals that surround you. Unlike many other games, your weapons only recover ammo when placed on their pedestals. Your success then, depends heavily on your ability to manage each of your four guns effectively.

Initially it feels a little strange. As you get used to picking up and putting down weapons, though, everything falls into place. You begin to feel like you’re in a John Woo movie; your arms moving of their own accord as you quickly survey your surroundings and pick off foes as they appear. Time Carnage manages you make you feel like a badass.

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Agent of Shield

If enemies do somehow manage to get into range to attack, you have a shield that can absorb a decent amount of damage. Should your shield be fully depleted, however, enemies will make short work of your pool of health. Luckily, your shield regenerates after not sustaining any damage for a short while. You can occasionally make use of Time Paradoxes too. Activated by shooting them when they appear, they slow down time considerably, allowing you make mincemeat of the enemies onscreen.

As you unlock each of the campaign mode’s stages, which are spread across four time periods, they also become available for use in Time Carnage‘s arcade mode. Here, the game is considerably harder, even on the game’s easiest difficulty setting. Although nothing will pose too much of a problem until you approach wave 10, at which point the onslaught you’re faced with can sometimes feel unfair.

Arcade mode is made a little more entertaining than campaign mode thanks to you being able to unlock and equip perks, as well as change which enemies populate each stage. It’ll take a while to amass a decent range of options, but it provides some long-lasting appeal. Time Carnage is not the sort of game you’re going to play for a few hours and have seen everything it has to offer. The unlockable challenges are testament to that, too.

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Trust your ears

Available on PC and PlayStation 4, I played Time Carnage with a PSVR headset and found its visuals to be quite nice. It’s not the best-looking PSVR game out there, but its environments are varied and well designed. Enemy design isn’t too bad either, though perhaps a little derivative. The game’s great use of audio cues deserve a special mention though; you often know which enemies are on their way and from where thanks to the game’s great use of sound.

If you’re after a VR game that’s fun in small doses but has lots of long-lasting appeal, then it’s quite easy to recommend Time Carnage. The action’s a little repetitive to consider playing through more than a few stages at once without it becoming to feel like a chore, but it’s an accomplished title nonetheless. You’ll encounter the odd annoyance while playing it, undoubtedly, but chances are you’ll keep going back for more.

Time Carnage requires a VR headset and is available on PC and PlayStation 4. We reviewed the PlayStation 4 version.
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!