XB1 Review: No Time To Explain

Soon to be a motion picture on SyFy starring Gabrielle Carteris.

Soon to be a motion picture on SyFy starring Gabrielle Carteris.

By: Quinn Potter

Like many indie games, No Time to Explain has gone through a long incubation and development process. Recently, tinyBuild wrote about the initial Kickstarter funding, the support (and withdrawal of support) from a game publisher, the original release on STEAM, and, now, four years later, the release of a new and improved version of the game. This game has fought hard to come into existence, so let’s take a fresh look at this humorous platformer.

CONTROLS (3.5/5)

There are basically three simple controls, which makes them easy to master. Unfortunately, the layout is odd: jump with LT, shoot with the right stick. Controls cannot be re-mapped, which is a disappointment.

As fun as it is to have an immediately playable game, the simplicity of the controls has its drawbacks. The controls are a bit chunky. It’s hard to a handle the fine details of steering your laser gun/jetpack, for example. When you get to boss fights, the imprecision of the controls may lead to frustration.

GRAPHICS/SOUND (4.25/5)

Animated graphics bring the game to life. The best feature would be the well-drawn characters that bounce around with big, humorous heads. Explosions of giant crabs, sharks and blocks look good. Background scenery with spaceships and oceans are sweet, too.

On the downside, there’s a lack of detail in some of the smaller items likes grass, trees and pipes. A few whimsical elements on these small details would have extended the insider humor and enjoyment of the graphics.

Sound is definitely a highlight. The beat-boppy keyboard-heavy soundtrack has a nice vibe. It overlays retro video game soundtrack cues with change-ups in pace and rhythm. It’s a good complement to the humor found in the rest of the game. The vocal talent is spot-on and gives the witty one-liners a nice punch. Sound effects for falling, shooting and killing are all well done and fit the game, too.

GAMEPLAY (4/5)

So, the premise of the game is that you are dancing, the wall of your house is broken down, and your future self is taken by a giant crab. There’s no tutorial, but you’ll learn the basic controls as you chase this crab. Once you catch the crab, you’ll have an enjoyable boss fight.

After destroying the robot crab and its spaceship, your future self will tell you to “save the future” and die, which is just the start of a long, time-travelling adventure.

No Time To Explain is an action-packed side scroller. You’ll use a jetpack-like laser gun, a futuristic shotgun or a slingshot to propel your character in any given direction. (The tools you have available will vary by level of play, as does the background.) Of course, there will be obstacles, such as spikes, jumps and flaming torches that impede your progress.

What makes it so darn funny? Is it the cartoonish characters, the humorous commentary, or watching yourself being propelled by an intriguing arsenal of futuristic weapons? Or maybe it’s the jazzy keyboard music and awesome sound effects that make you want to propel yourself over a gap to an underwhelming “thump” time and time again?

“How long have I been bleeding for?! This doesn’t make any sense!”

Hmm… those words might sum up the whole game. It’s basically impossible to break down the individual parts that make you laugh because it’s the package, as a whole, that made me repeatedly jetpack through underwater caves and slam myself again a wall of spikes. The bleeding shark popping up on the side yelling “Tell my family it was a quick death” added to the fun.

OVERALL (4/5)

Underwater caves, burning wood, spinning orbs with time portals, spaceships, giant crabs, snarky sharks – let’s face it, there just aren’t enough ways to capture the action-packed, time-traveling hilarity in No Time to Explain. Bugs and glitches from the earlier version seem to have been worked out. Now it’s a challenging sidescroller that brings joy to those who play. ‘Nuff said – time to get back to my jetpack.

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About Herija Green

Avid gamer, adventurous lover and all-around damned handsome man...
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