Game Review #343: Timespinner (Nintendo Switch)
Developer: Lunar Ray Games
Category: Metroidvania, Action, Adventure
Release Date: 6.4.2019
Price (at time of review): $19.99
Buy Timespinner from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
One End of the Spectrum
Metroidvania is a genre that is getting a TON of love lately, almost to the point of oversaturation due to the sheer volume flooding the eShop. Some games might get glossed over, but my mission is to ensure that you don’t skip over this absolute gem of a game! A lot of these games end up either being a little more Metroid, or a little bit more Castlevania, and this game very nicely sits on the Castlevania side—and wears that title proudly!
I found myself getting some Symphony of the Night Vibes throughout, mixed with a lot of the modern polish the series acquired by Order of Ecclesia, which turned out to be the PERFECT mix. I picked this game up, and honestly, outside of going to work, I played this from start to finish without even so much as thinking about another game. I convinced my co-workers to download it, and when I beat it, I started up that New Game + right away! This game bleeds awesome Super Nintendo vibes to me, and I couldn’t be happier to put my words and thoughts out there on this gem!
This game comes from a successful Kickstarter that raised over $175,000 dollars, and it started as a passion project of one man. I have a few Kickstarters under my belt, and it's always so good to see a great product born out of crowdfunding, I'm still waiting for a couple myself! This game takes place in the galaxy of Erneah, where you play as Lunais, born to a clan on the planet Winderia. This character finds herself flying through time and space itself in order to right the wrongs that have happened, and to stop an evil empire from taking over even more of the world under its rule.
This game world feels like it’s overflowing with detail, and it has a rewarding sense of discovery as you play through the game and find out even more about this world, its people, and the technologies within it. This world and the characters contained within are varied, colorful, and intriguing. Now, another place where this game absolutely shines is the gameplay. Let's talk a little bit about that next!
Goodness Gracious Magical Balls of…. Eyeballs and Swords?
Lunais is a master user of Aura, this world's magical energy. Having powers as strong as she does, it allows her to use orbs in order to fight against enemies. Essentially, you will find new orbs that you can equip, and they all have different effects. You can simply bash enemies with an orb, or maybe transform it into a sword and slice someone up. If that's not exciting enough, maybe arcing lighting, hitting far-away enemies? Still not enough? Ok, ok… what about a fleshy eye-orb that turns into a bladed boomerang before launching out at an enemy and damaging them multiple times? Still not enough? Ok, a gun. Yep, that's right, a gun orb.
This huge variety of weapons, all of which do different kinds of damage to which each enemy has unique weaknesses and resistances, paired with Lunais’ ability to equip two different primary attack orbs, allows you to finely tune your gameplay to your preferred style. Stack on top of that the ability to level up each orb, increasing its damage AND your spell you can equip, which is tied to an orb you have and is a big-damage attack. You will conjure giant blades, shoot huge energy blasts, and more as you get more orbs, and it even gets spicier after that!
You can equip a ring associated with an orb in order to grant yourself a passive effect, like maybe you want your orbs to have rotating blades on them, passively damaging enemies that touch them even if you aren't attacking them, or maybe you want your orbs lit on fire to burn enemies with a damage-over-time effect.
The possibilities are HUGE with this, and you can also switch between three sets of equipment at the press of a button, which will allow you to tune different setups to deal with different situations efficiently. Will you double up on elements and try to change up your orbs for each encounter, or will you try to cover as many elements and damage-types as possible so you never have to change around your orbs? It’s up to you!
I know I just went on a little tangent, but I LOVED the variety of gameplay the orbs bought, I was always so eager to equip a new orb and find out how to make it effective, and to see what new spells and rings I could craft with my newfound power. All of this is great, but Lunais is no one-trick pony. She can even briefly stop time so she can dodge attacks that are otherwise un-dodgeable, or use enemies as platforms to solve platforming challenges. I was able to do some pretty crazy stuff in order to find some of the more well-hidden items in this game using this ability, and it fits into the story very well.
The bosses are all challenging and unique, with New Game + bringing even greater challenges. True to its Metroidvania heritage, you play on a huge, sprawling, interconnected map that you will gradually gain access to as you get better abilities to progress further. Lunais can switch from the planet of the past and the present, and you will be able to influence the present with your actions in the past.
This game closely emulates the Super Nintendo in terms of style of graphics. I get almost a Mega Man X vibe—which is just about the best vibe to give me, judging by the Tattoo of X on my shoulder—from the character models and backgrounds. Beautiful backgrounds dot this game world, and the foreground doesn’t disappoint either in the least.
This game’s soundtrack is absolutely rockin’—I loved it! This whole game’s vibe just really did it for me, and I had such an awesome time the entire time I played it. Each enemy was distinct-looking and had fun combat patterns to learn, and of course, loot, loot, and more loot to farm out to outfit Lunais with every fancy gadget and magical armor you can get your hands on. This game does the ‘vania name fantastically, and I can’t recommend you pick this game up enough. Don’t wait, go buy this now, because Timespinner gets a 10/10 for me, PLAY IT!
Buy Timespinner from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Chucklefish