No Time to Explain Review
Time-Travel Platforming Shenanigans
No Time To Explain is the first game from the minds of the developers at tinyBuild. This crazy Kickstarter was funded back in April 2011 and since then creators have remastered the sound and graphics for the console release versions. Using intense action laden with laughs, No Time To Explain grasped my attention early on. Starting the game, we first peek-in on our hero in the middle of his dance workout at home. Whether zumba or jazzercise its hard to tell, but all fun comes to a sudden stop when one of the walls suddenly blasts apart. Where once the wall stood, now the future version of you stands. Wearing a red jumpsuit with sun glasses and holding a beam gun, future you starts, “I am you from the future! No time to explain. Follow me to — OH CHRIST!”, before a giant red crab claw snatches him away through the busted wall. Following a trail of my own blood and screams with my future self’s Beam Gun in hand, I was ready to save the day.
No Time To Explain pits players vs environment in an evermore challenging series of platformer levels. Levels are represented in the level select area as time portals to alternate universes. There are many differences to each universe, but the goal is always the same: reach the next time portal. You may not know why or how, but each portal brings you closer to a satisfying finale.
No Time To Explain’s controls are easy to learn, but hard to master. As you can see in the picture above, players are given three basic control commands: jump (L1 or L2), walk (L stick), and beam (right stick, R1, or R2). Walking and jumping are pretty straightforward, though I only needed to use jump on a select few challenges. Most maneuvers are completed using the beam gun, which acts similar to a jet pack with face melting powers. Aiming the beam gun directly below me, if standing on flat ground, will launch me up into the air way higher than jumping does. Changing the tilt of that angle off the ground and backwards will propel me forwards. Below is a quick video demonstrating basic Beam Gun moves, and showcases my recent discovery that holding “triangle” would make my character dance.
There are so many tricks to learn with this movement mechanic. Using momentum to increase distance, water to boost to impossible heights, and mid-air beam gun shots to avoid becoming impaled, are just a few. The game doesn’t immediately show you, but what I found was useful are the alternate buttons to use the beam. I would often accidentally change direction while trying to perform an intricate maneuver using the right stick. What I started doing was using right stick to line up the angle I wanted to boost at, and then flutter the beam on and off using R1.
Just when I was starting to get a hang on the controls, No Time to Explain throws me a curve-ball. As I mentioned earlier there are many differences between universes, but not all of them are changes in the environment or a new puzzle mechanic; you change as well. It would only make sense that alternate universes would hold various versions of yourself. The first curve-ball came with the exchanging of my beam gun to a shot gun. My once gently climb into the air was now replaced with a single blast with little in-air control:
The beam gun still makes a return in many of the following levels, but a few other guest star-controls await your digits as well. Levels are designed to test your versatility and invite creativity. Just because the top of a wall is off-screen doesn’t mean you can’t reach it. Well actually, if you happen to be in the Fat Cake universe there is no way you reach it:
No Time to Explain’s graphics are nothing to write home about. It’s simplistic art style works well with it’s goofy atmosphere, but lacks more intricate textures that games like Alien Hominid or Super Meat Boy pull off so magnificently. Levels do change theme often so visuals don’t become stale. You could be eating your way through a land made of sweets one second, then suddenly find yourself surrounded by white that blots with ink temporarily when shot by the beam gun:
Enjoying the constantly changing world around you, but wishing your hat would change too? You’re in luck! Placed all over levels are collectible hats to tickle that fancy. I found myself changing hats after almost every hat I collected. After finishing the game I acquired tons of random wacky hats, but gamer OCD beckoned me to return to collect them all. As of now I only need two more hats and those last two are driving me bonkers. THEY SHALL BE MINE!
Replaying levels, I began to notice No Time to Explain’s sound track is blood-pump galore; each track designed to keep you moving. Many of the tracks are electronic action anthems that would feel at home in a spy thriller or retro-post-apocalyptic performance. This awesome soundtrack helps drown out the most annoying sound in the entire game: the beam gun. I truly wish tinyBuild had decided to go with something other than an obnoxious white noise static sound effect.
I am reluctantly to shed any light on No Time to Explain’s mysterious story. It almost goes without saying, but a game named “No Time to Explain” clearly wants the player to piece together what is happening as they progress from level to level. With cut scenes and boss fights to help you begin to understand what exactly is going on, tinyBuild molds a story out of death and destruction. Unfortunately the story mode isn’t very long, as it would probably only take casual gamers a week or less to complete and hardcore gamers one day. A bonus campaign is unlocked after completing the main story, but that too, though hilarious, wasn’t very long. One saving grace is an additional mode that pits you against challenge maps made by other users. I don’t know just how many user-made maps are available to play, but a few I’ve completed were pretty difficult. Regardless of length, No Time to Explain was a treat to play, and I’m not talking about a chocolate chip cookie here, but rather a pop-rock covered chocolate habanero. You can check out just how spicy it can get in the boss battle below:
Thank you for reading. Nolan — Totaltoad
P.S. I’m still trying to incorporate better videos into my reviews. Any and all feedback is helpful and appreciated.
No Time to Explain gets a 7/10 (Average)
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