Timespinner’s tale of loss and revenge isn’t anything revolutionary, but it’s enough to keep your gears (time pun; get it?) going while you platform your way across hostile terrain, facing strange enemies and discovering secrets. You play as Lunais, a young Time Messenger, who has everything taken from her in one fell swoop by an evil empire. Thrown back in time with no hopes of returning unless she repairs the titular Timespinner, Lunais must explore both past and present Lachiem.
Upon starting Timespinner, you’re asked to choose a difficulty. In Dream Mode, you’re automatically revived upon being slain; in Normal Mode, you are sent back to your last checkpoint and lose any progress achieved after it upon being slain; and in Nightmare Mode you do significantly less damage while the enemies are ramped up. The final difficulty is unlocked upon beating the game at least once.
Gameplay is typical of the action-platform genre: a sprawling world comprised of interconnected cells lays before you, requiring a measure of wit and the right tools/abilities to navigate in its entirety. You can find breakable objects, chests which hold upgrades and key items, and collectables within the world. The latter fills in the finer details in the story, making them a worthwhile venture to obtain if you’re the type who’s into lore.
In combat, Lunais uses a combination of physical attacks via orbs, magical abilities, and time manipulation. Orbs are equipment items that can be found in chests and obtained from defeated bosses. You can equip a left and a right orb, combinations of which lead to swift, powerful blows that feel different based on types of strikes. Lunais also utilizes different aura powers, which are attached to necklaces. These are cool looking, but above all powerful, and they cost energy to use. Energy regenerates over time, unlike the sands within your hourglass, which can be picked up from breakable objects. The hour glass freezes time with the touch of a button, though the effect is limited.
Boss fights are a challenging affair during which you’ll need to chain it all together to emerge victorious. Bosses are large, ghastly, and gunning for your demise. Learning their attack patterns and figuring out how best to counter them is key!
The time manipulation aspect is, naturally, where Timespinner shines. It was especially rewarding to use an enemy as a platform and get to a hard-to-reach area or freeze a looming horror in place in order to dodge an incoming attack. The timing did take some getting used to at first and I tended to run out of sand when I needed it most, but I got it down soon enough.
Timespinner looks fantastic. The shading is dynamic and really brings to life the environment and the characters. From the flickering flames to the way hair moves, the visual design is seamlessly animated. The sound track pays homage to the retro days of yesteryear. The gothic elements are complimentary to the environments. The overall effect is something of a classic beauty and inspires a sense of nostalgia.
Timespinner has a modern look and nuances without losing what made the classics great. While the adventure is bite sized in length, it’s still an engaging ride and will require a measure of skill to complete. Bosses are satisfying, requiring a combination of creative thinking and brute strength and there are a sufficient number of collectables to pad your game time. Despite some minor annoyances as far as difficulty spikes and the bound-to-happen bouts of backtracking, there’s a lot to like about this game for genre veterans and newbies alike.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Timespinner has a modern look and nuances without losing what made the classics great.
- Tight, responsive controls
- Nightmare difficulty for those looking to test/punish themselves.
- Engaging plot
- Equipment types change up the feel of combat.
- Familiars are cute, but most are useless unless manned by a second player.
- Short run time (4~6 hours)