[Review] No Time to Explain – Wake Up. Time to Die.
Though games like Syobon Action and I Wanna Be The Guy were early pioneers of the “masocore” genre, Super Meat Boy popularized and, arguably, perfected it. Since then, we’ve seen plenty of games in this vein – Dustforce, Spelunky, and even Hotline Miami have all put their own spin on the masochistic gameplay tropes that make the genre so special. In comes No Time to Explain, tinyBuildGAMES’ Kickstarter-funded cavalcade of craziness. The game itself may not have time to explain, but I do. Sit down and hit that “Show More” button, I’ve got all day.
Unlike Lucy, this game doesn’t have much ‘splainin’ to do. It explains nothing. Your future self has been taken by this giant… crab… thing, bestowing you with a crazy future beam gun and you begin your quest to save your future self. I have to applaud the game for putting you into the action nearly immediately.
The action in this case being jumping over platforms and propelling yourself with said beam gun. Oh, and dying. Lots and lots of dying. Basically, you’ll control your character with WASD and use the mouse to aim your gun, a la Abuse. Unlike Abuse, though, you’ll be using your gun almost as a jetpack to get you over treacherous gap after treacherous gap. By shooting the gun in the direction opposite of where you want to go, you’ll navigate through some precarious situations, to say the least. You’ll also collect hats. Which you’ll wear. Like hats.
Propelling yourself from platform to platform isn’t anything particularly new, but No Time to Explain wraps it around some cleverly designed levels and a truly laugh-out-loud story. There’s no hyperbole involved when I say that it’s the funniest game I’ve played since Saints Row: The Third. If you enjoyed the humor in Super Meat Boy, you’ll definitely find some laughs.
Have I mentioned you’ll die a lot?
You’ll die. A lot.
Even going in with predilections for the genre, I have to say that I found No Time to Explain to be incredibly frustrating. It’s a darned shame, too. Unfortunately, even with well designed levels and a fun, ridiculous premise, No Time to Explain just can’t shake it’s major flaw — it’s unpredictable. The sensitivity of the mouse controls makes it difficult to pull off anything consistently and the frame rate is borderline offensive. Missing a jump because the game skipped six frames is maddening. There’s not even a satisfying death animation. Your character simply glows red and then respawns, booooooring.
With its unstable frame rate and questionable (at best) hitbox reliability, it’s much more easy to get frustrated at the game than it is at yourself. Where most “masocore” games strive for pixel-perfect precision and tight controls, No Time to Explain just feels… mushy. The propulsion mechanics are nigh impossible to predict and, worse, nigh impossible to replicate. These wouldn’t all be problems if the game ran silky smooth, but when dozens of frames can be lost at the drop of a hat, it isn’t fun to punish myself. Luckily, the game checkpoints during every patch of safe ground, so you won’t have to do entire levels with no mistakes.
Boasting a ton of levels, enough mechanics to keep things from getting stale (including segments that don’t even involve the beam gun), and an absolutely absurd story, No Time to Explain should be incredible. Regretfully, its problems make it hard to recommend to even the most masochistic of players, especially at the $10 price point. Still interested? Watch our very own Jayborino play the game here and revel in its absurdity!
[+Funny] [+Gets Straight to Business] [+Tons of Content and Mechanics] [-Awful Frame Rate] [-Unpredictable Mechanics] [-Extremely Frustrating]