Two worlds, an evil empire and one woman ready to sacrifice herself in order to change time itself. Is this Metroidvania worth the wait? Find out in this Timespinner review.
I have to carry the curse of having to review Metroidvanias for all eternity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty good curse when you think about it, but there’s always the issue of facing countless titles without soul or fun. But today’s game manages to not only be worthy of being part of this great genre but to fully understand and transmit the sense of exploration and discovery as well. After four years of hard work, Timespinner is here to stay. Find out why in this Timespinner review.
It’s been 84 years…
Lunar Ray Games is an indie team founded by Bodie Lee back in 2014. It was in this same year when they launched their Kickstarter, and since then it’s been a really long time without much information about the project. Until a few days back, when they just said “Timespinner will be out on September 25th!”. 4 years of development is, for the most part, enough time to make your indie title shine like Agent 47’s head. And oh boy, how much this game shines indeed.
As always, I’ll be brief in terms of the plot as it is best experienced without knowing too much. We are in control of Lunais, last (and first, because of time travel) of the Timekeepers and adept in the ancient art of kicking ass. With her, we will explore the land of Lachiem through its present and its past. But even if this game is story-driven focused (and a good one at that by the way), this game is part of the Metroidvania genre. How it handles this genre, you ask? Well…
The best of both worlds
When we usually talk about the concept of a good Metroidvania, most people focus on the combat or the platforming, yet they tend to forget one key feature that made titles such as Hollow Knight, Super Metroid or Castlevania Symphony of the Night the great games they are: discovery.
Recent Metroidvanias such as Death’s Gambit or Chasm fail to deliver this sense of exploring a place unique and interesting. We often find ourselves hitting walls and going to “secret” areas in order to discover something interesting, just to realize that there’s nothing worth the struggle. Timespinner manages to do this right by offering hidden lore, materials that allow us to level up our orbs and health, magic and sand permanent upgrades. We can even find some new gear for Lunais or familiars to help us in our quest for revenge.
It gets everywhere
Maybe you guessed it already, but time it’s kind of a very important aspect in Timespinner’s plot. Too bad it’s not so much in terms of gameplay though. Not only we can travel to the past and the present, but we can also freeze time by using sand. This is used in a few clever moments for platforming reasons and in a couple of early areas of the game. However, if you think you can affect the present by doing stuff in the past, you’ll be right. Well, partially right.
Even if some actions of the story affect the present, these moments are few and not really remarkable. For the most part, stopping time while only help while fighting one of the many fun bosses of Timespinner. You won’t be sweating too much against them, but at least they teach you how to evade certain attacks that will be used by the final boss.
Dance off, Pals
Another thing that gets a shining gold star is the soundtrack. If you love Symphony of the Night OST, Timespinner melodies will remind you a lot of Alucard’s quest in Dracula’s castle. I mean come on, one of the titles is called Masquerade of Hedonists and it sounds like this:
If that doesn’t remind you of Wood Carving Partita I’ll dress as a vampire for one year. But yeah, this OST will make you smile like a doofus once you hear it while running around through beautiful castles, flooded caves and libraries. Your ears will enjoy the tunes, that’s for sure.
Secrets and conclusions
The final point I’ll talk about in this review will be one that I hadn’t seen it for a while: secret endings. Last time I checked, Metroidvanias used to just… Well, end. Maybe some small extra content here and there if you do some side quests, but nothing too crazy. But Timespinner doesn’t want to take that route, hell no. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but this game really wants you to explore it 100%. And if you think you are done, think again and try doing something else after defeating the final boss that would be impossible in other games.
Timespinner is amazing, and I’m not afraid of saying that this could easily be one of my favourite games of this year, if not of all time. The music, the story, the gameplay… Everything is stitched together in this fantastic tapestry that I hope people will enjoy it as much as I did. Lunar Ray Games, you truly get what made old school Metroidvanias fun and awesome, and for that I thank you.
- Amazing soundtrack
- Really fun gameplay
- Exploration is well rewarded
- Secrets everywhere
- Changing time does not affect the world as much as it could
- Not really hard to finsh even on Nightmare difficulty