Time Carnage is a virtual reality shooter from British independent studio Wales Interactive. The BAFTA winning studio has published a variety of games since their inception in 2011. These include kart racer Coffin Dodgers and FMV game The Late Shift. Time Carnage therefore is a shift in genre for the developer. The game sees the player traveling through time battling onslaughts of various creatures, from dinosaurs in the past to robots in the future.
Release Date: 10th April 2018
Platforms: Reviewed on PSVR, also available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality via Steam
Price: £15.99 on PS4, £14.99 on Steam – 20% off currently on both as a launch discount!
Size: 1.6GB on PS4, 3GB on Steam
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developed By: Wales Interactive
Published By: Wales Interactive
Gameplay & Story
There is almost no story. There are some menu text boxes which give an overview and background to each level, but that is all. You’re an operative who has to cleanse time zones of danger in order for humans to rebuild society. It does just enough to give you a reason for the gameplay but it is so underutilized that it didn’t need to be included.
Time Carnage does one thing absolutely superbly: Controls. The game controls magnificently. It isn’t even a stretch to say that the game reinvents the way that shooting gallery games should be played.
The Move controllers are required. The player is positioned in an invisible orb, acting as a shield. Before every level you choose a load out of four weapons, these can be duplicates. Within your orb there are four stands that the weapons sit on. You use one button to pick up and drop weapons and one button to fire.
While the weapons are in your hands they cannot be reloaded, but on the platform they automatically reload. It is a brilliant system that adds a frantic nature to the gameplay as you swing your arms around, grabbing and dropping weapons on the fly. It also makes the shooting completely fluid, you can grab a shotgun, kill two nearby enemies before grabbing a revolver to take down and enemy who has only just spawned.
You really do feel like an action hero and the immersion of the controls is brilliant. The guns all work the way you’d expect as well. Not only do shotguns feel powerful but they look impactful, enemies actually react to being shot instead of just dropping dead. This extra sense of realism goes a long way in VR. If you use a Vector to spray a huge mutant with bullets the creature will physically respond to being shot multiple times. It works very well in action. Many weapons can be unlocked, bringing important variety to your play style.
It is really unfortunate then that the Campaign doesn’t quite have the same unique brilliance. The game has sixteen stages set across four worlds, with ten waves in most of the stages. This just felt far too long. You’re ready for each level to be over and to move onto the next thing far before the game allows you. The enemy variety is good as is the level design. However after your 30th wave of shooting similar enemies never mind 40th you’ll really start to wonder where the fun has disappeared to. The other modes in the game suffer from this. There is an Arcade and a Challenge mode, both of which are really interesting.
The Arcade mode allows you to play any level from the game with any enemy included. It also introduces some cool unlockable perks which change up the gameplay. It is just a shame you need to clear the campaign to unlock all of this content, the short time I played with Arcade I had an absolute blast. The challenges were fun as well, ranging from having to use Cupid’s arrows to getting continuous headshots with a magnum.
Graphics & Sound
The visuals in this game are absolutely fine. They aren’t special but they aren’t bad at all. The biggest graphical annoyance is sunlight. Often it shines distractingly bright and actually gave me one of my only VR headaches. When the games embraces dark settings though, ironically it shines.
The monsters really stand out, especially the dinosaurs up close. They really do look good and their animations are great. Blood flying out as they’re shot full of bullets looks really good in real time. The sense of scale as you look up at a T-Rex or one of the huge zombie mutants is amazing. There is a slight blur to the graphics, but it isn’t noticeable in real time.
The sound in the game is great. Creatures sound real, at one point I could hear loud footsteps getting closer and closer, really quickly moving. There was a triceratops hurtling towards me, the sound design really sold the moment and had me immersed. The 3D sound effects work really well to give you hints as to where the next enemy will appear. The cheesy, dramatic music throughout really works with the games theme, creating a sense of over the top importance to each levels, most reminiscent of 80’s action movies.
Time Carnage VR has some truly exceptional moments. Staring down hordes of spiders, raptors and mutants with two mini guns in an abandoned street is cool and fun in the best kind of way. However the repetitive gameplay in the Campaign really drags the package down. If the campaign’s levels had been half the length this would have been an excellent content package. Instead the repetitiveness of the gameplay will really turn you away from the rest of the brilliant content.