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Time Rift review: A fiendish, fast-paced puzzler that’s going to test your brain

Time Rift
Image: Lightshards/Abiding Bridge

Two years after its initial launch, Time Rift has just made its way to PS5. And if you’re a fan of fast-paced puzzles that really get your brain in gear, you’re going to want to play this.

The concept of Time Rift is pretty simple, on the surface. You take on the role of an ethical hacker, using your skills to work with a company called VaultCo in order to test the security of their computer systems. As such, you have control of an icon as you manoeuvre your way through their firewall systems.

In other words, it’s a 2D side-scrolling puzzler, where you’ll need to collect nodes along the way and get past various obstacles. But with an auto-scrolling wall chasing you wherever you go, you’re forever against the clock. You’ll need to hit switches to change directions, make use of rewind and time-slowing powers and plenty more as you progress through this fiendish puzzler.

Time Rift screenshot
Image: Lightshards/Abiding Bridge

Presented with neon colours that reminds us of a ‘Recharged’ title from Atari, we absolutely dig Time Rift’s aesthetics. Its bombastic soundtrack provides just the right amount of tension you need to help you get through the levels, too. It’s enough to get the heart pumping, that’s for sure.

Related: The Best Puzzle Games on PS4 and PS5

While things start out easily, it doesn’t take long until Time Rift ups the ante: every few levels, new obstacles, functions and threats will be added in. Basically, just when you think you’re getting to grips with it, something new will be thrown into the mix to keep you on your toes.

Expect to fail time and time again before you succeed at a level, then, but somehow it manages to never fully stray into frustration. The ability to rewind time and fix your mistakes certainly helps: it means you can learn as you play, taking your first attempt at a level as nothing more than a practice run. When you think you’ve got everything down-pat, jump back in and set yourself a perfect run.

Time Rift screenshot
Image: Lightshards/Abiding Bridge

There’s a slice of narrative thrown into Time Rift to keep you engaged as you play. Between some levels, you’ll be treated to dialogue from a VaultCo employee with a story that unfolds as you progress. It starts off rather innocuous but over time you’ll uncover company secrets and a tale of sabotage. It’s worth sticking around for.

It seems Time Rift slipped under the radar when it first launched back in 2022. With this PS5 release, it deserves a second chance: this is a clever and challenging fast-paced puzzler, packed with excellent ideas that really make you think about your actions. The best part? It’s only £7.99. A bargain for numerous hours of thrilling puzzle action.

Time Rift review – GameSpew’s score

This review of Time Rift is based on the PS5 version of the game, with a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch. and PC.
Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.