No Time to Explain is an entertaining romp through time travel
Sometimes a developer is so eager to get their game out to the public, they can be a little too quick on the draw. When the trailer for No Time to Explain was released in early 2011, and gathered huge interest online, studio tinyBuild Games had a game on its hands that wasn’t really fixed up very well at all. The game was released in summer 2011, and was an awfully buggy mess.
A year and a half later, and the game has been spruced up a fair bit, and released via Steam. Is it now worth playing? Well… there’s certainly a lot of improvements over the original, and some of the ideas here are great – but much of the game is still very under-developed.
You play an everyday sort of guy who is warned of impending doom by his future self. The latter is then grabbed by a giant crab and carried off, with his former self following hot on his heels.
No Time to Explain is pretty funny stuff, with plenty of great jokes and voice acting thrown in to keep you smiling along. The game itself is a mixture of regular platforming and gravity-pushing, as you make use of a giant laser gun to not only take out enemies, but also fire at the floor and walls to give you lift-off.
The level design is great at times, slowly but surely building up each new idea and then laying it on thick and fast. There are also hats to collect around the world, which require you use your newfound gameplay mechanic knowledge to grab.
The problem is that No Time to Explain is still rather buggy in places. We got stuck in walls a few times, and when you die, you just sort of flash red for a moment and appear back when you started. It looks extremely amateurish, and surely wouldn’t have taken much effort to rectify.
The controls aren’t great either. Most of the time you can get by with them, but on the later levels, they simply aren’t tight enough for some of the jumps you’re asked to make, leading to some serious frustration.
Oh, and the boss battles are really very poor indeed. There’s no doubt that they look the part, especially with the great comic visual style – but for every single boss fight, you’re simply asked to aim your laser at the boss and keep your finger held down. Get hit by the boss, and you might flash for a second, or appear somewhere else, but that’s about it. There’s no challenge whatsoever, so you come away feeling deflated.
No Time to Explain has the makings of a great game, and with a little more attention to detail, it could have been something great. Hopefully we’ll get a sequel that focuses on the details as much as the jokes.