Picture the scene. You’re innocently dancing in your living room to the sounds of the television, when a guy who looks like you wearing a red jumpsuit and a laser cannon bursts through your wall, exclaiming “there’s no time to explain!”, when suddenly he is grabbed by a huge orange crab claw and snatched screaming from the lounge. “What?” You may be thinking. Yeah, me too.
But that’s exactly what greeted me upon starting No Time to Explain. Promises of time travel, laser beams and giant enemy crabs instantly got me hooked. Through the crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter (which crops up so frequently lately), over $26,000 dollars was pledged by fans of the original, free, browser-based game to create a full version. From the cash, tiny Build GAMES have created an Indie platformer game with a twist. Unfortunately, the twist is that I’m unsure as to where the majority of the funding has been spent.
Promises of time travel, laser beams and giant enemy crabs instantly got me hooked.
At its core, No Time to Explain is as simple as it gets. Use your laser cannon dropped by your future self to propel yourself over gaps, spikes and other nasties which stand in your way. The cannon also, obviously, doubles up as a weapon for the boss fights. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but you’ll be spending the majority of your time attempting to manoeuvre past tricky sections of levels, some of which, frankly, are far too hard to constitute as ‘fun’.
The double-edged trade-off to this frequently poor level design is that death carries literally no penalty. Your position in the level is saved every time you land on solid, safe ground, and when you die you are instantly taken back to that point. This often works as a saving grace; you can repeatedly tackle a particularly annoying section. However, simultaneously it also makes the game almost utterly pointless. Additionally, boss fights are transformed into point and click experiences which provide neither a challenge, nor satisfaction.
Death carries literally no penalty…it makes the game almost utterly pointless.
There are occasional breaks to the monotony of platforming with your laser cannon. One level sees you flying on the back of a man with a jetpack blowing up various robotic dinosaurs in a dystopian futuristic landscape. It doesn’t last very long, but I’m glad they were implemented; it’s just something different to do.
The great thing is, I get the feeling that No Time to Explain doesn’t even care about the dodgy death mechanic. tiny Build have set out to create something which appeals to it’s target audience; namely the Internet. The game is absolutely packed full of memes, ranging from something an everyday gamer might recognise, to things buried in the deepest recesses of the Web. The Giant Enemy Crab, the first boss you’ll encounter, hearkens to a section of Sony’s E3 press conference where Genji: Days of the Blade promised battles based on real Japanese history; shortly after which a huge crab appears from over a rock. The cannon’s beam looks disturbingly similar to the ‘FIRIN’ MA LAZOR’ meme. Even the title of the game itself is a meme. If you’re learned in the ways of the Internet, and get the references, these little gems will make you chuckle.
The game is absolutely packed full of memes, ranging from something an everyday gamer might recognise, to things buried in the deepest recesses of the Web.
Aside from the memes, there are a few other elements to this game which may elicit a giggle. Within the levels are series of hidden, collectable ‘hats’ which you can use to change your appearance. My personal favourites are the cartoon dinosaur and the realistic fox, which brought a smile to my face. Additionally, your future self is heard at the start of every level, screaming in pain and delivering a random one liner; funny at first, but it’s a gag which doesn’t switch it up throughout the game. Usually for me, humour in gaming is a breath of fresh air, but No Time to Explain brings it down a few notches, and is just one large, and expensive joke.
No Time to Explain isn’t necessarily a bad game. But it feels like it belongs back at it’s roots; a free to play browser based game. At £6.99 on Steam, No Time to Explain definitely isn’t worth your cash. With such a large sum of money pledged to the development of this game, it’s surprising, and disappointing, that tiny Build didn’t make more of this fantastic idea.