With the proliferation of indie development, I feel like I've seen an increase in one genre above all others: the Metroidvania. That style of side-scrolling platformer married with exploration and RPG-style progression seems to have struck a chord in a number of developers. In the past few months, I've played Axiom Verge, Chasm, Heart Forth Alicia, and Xeodrifter. Each title builds on the genre while heading in its own direction.
Timespinner from Lunar Ray Games is another Metroidvania vying for your heart. Timespinner slots into the Sega Genesis/Super Nintendo era of visual style, much like Chasm and Heart Forth Alicia. It looks good and animates well. The primary differentiating mechanic here is the ability to stop time. Tapping a button freezes everything but you for a limited amount of time, allowing you to use frozen enemies as platforms or catch a breather.
In the small section of the game I played, timing your freeze was key to reaching new areas and secret paths. Does this bridge over some spikes crumble underneath your feet? Stopping time makes that bridge completely solid. Unable to reach a specific ledge? Freeze an enemy in mid-air and use them as an impromptu stepping stone. You recharge your ability to freeze the world by destroying enemies, so it's always at your fingertips without being invincible.
Does Timespinner rewrite the Metroidvania genre with wildly different mechanics and ideas? Not really. The game doesn't seek to be the most innovative title ever. It's trying to be a solid entry in the genre. While some may be tired of side-scrolling exploration, I continue to dig a well-executed Metroidvania and Timespinners is well-executed.
According to a developer at Lunar Ray, Timespinners is planned for a launch in March or April 2016 launch on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and 3DS.
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