No Time to Explain Review: Humorous, Clever Platforming
Where No Time really excels is in humor. It’s bubbling over with craziness, whether it’s the painful screams of your future self (“My rib is in my eye! It’s in my eye! How is this even possible?!”) or the themes of the various stages (one that’s predicated on the argument of games-as-art sends you to an Unfinished Swan-style white cyc that you have to reveal with your gun, which fires ink instead of the usual laser beam). The ending in particular is a hilarious moment, as are the various time paradoxes you encounter along the way. A lot of great ideas find a home in No Time, and they’re worth checking out.
All that positive outlook aside, my time with No Time was fraught with serious bugs and technical issues. The one that plagued me most was a graphical glitch concerning your aiming cursor for the laser cannon. The cursor is animated in its own way rather than being static, and any time I repositioned it on the screen, it tanked my framerate to a standstill. I’m not the only one to experience the bug, and while it seriously damaged the experience, it came in just shy of game-breaking — and I still managed to have fun playing No Time, which is saying something. It often made playing the game extremely difficult, though.
I hit a second almost-game-breaking bug later in the game during one of the boss fights, where I couldn’t trigger a win condition. After playing through the fight (and the chapter preceding it, since you have to play all the levels in a group together) five or six times, I finally managed to slip past the bug, though I’m still not sure why.
I’d hoped that at some point No Time might be patched to deal with these issues, and it’s possible at some point that it may be. In the meantime, though, it’s a tough recommendation, especially with the frame rate issue (although to be fair, not everyone experiences that).
That said, No Time is fun and very funny, and often its platform design is intelligent as well as fresh and challenging. At $10, I’d say that it’s worth the gamble that bugs won’t crop up. Even with its crap boss fights, the good things in No Time to Explain manage to outweigh the bad. As a major fan of time travel, I had a solidly fun time with it.
- Lots of great humor, especially toward the end
- Tons of variety in gameplay and level design
- Platforming design adds new ideas to the genre, some of which are pretty intelligent
- Lots of craziness on offer in design and levels
- A fair amount of content for completionists, and some good challenge
- Some players might experience some nearly game-breaking bugs
- Boss fights leave a lot to be desired
- Sometimes controls are a little wishy-washy, which makes a few levels a bit of a chore
- Variety sometimes plays against the game, with a few arcade levels that are weak
Final Score: 70/100
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Phil Hornshaw is the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel. Read more of his work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.