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No Time To Explain

No Time To Explain opens up to a mild afternoon with a young man dancing carelessly before the judgment of his Kinect sensor as it converts the gyrating of his hips into high scores. Then a crack, a crash, and the walls of his house tumble and his future self arrives with a dire warning. There’s no time to explain, however, as the future self is immediately ambushed by a giant alien crab, leaving his beam weapon behind. So…a rescue mission, maybe. Just grab the gun and go.

It’s important to note that you won’t be spending much time shooting bad guys with your amazing new beam cannon. Rather, the gun is treated more like a multidirectional jetpack that probably could’ve used a few extra safety tests before tumbling onto the production line. Jumps that are normally out of reach become possible by flinging yourself skyward with an appropriate blast from the cannon. With it’s help you’ll be well on your way to navigating the game’s micro-levels with relative ease.

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There is a story of sorts. It involves some time traveling and some unnecessary giant beasts snatching up your future selves, cloning experiments and giant monsters sent back and forward through time. There’s a very simplistic, flash animation aesthetic to cinematics, which works regardless of their cheap production values.

“Fast pace”Not all of the game’s conventions have you firing your beam weapon, but all of them directly relate to flinging yourself around the environment. There’s the simple shotgun blast that hurls you in a given direction all the way to becoming obese enough to bowl through obstructions by eating cake. The game moves at such a fast pace that by the time you’re used to doing one thing you’re quite likely already doing something else.

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The little game is not without its flaws, containing various bugs, inconsistencies and oddities that hold back the experience. While the majority of the game has you respawning from the last safe platform, there are various circumstances, like death by fire, that have you restarting the level. If the side of a level is left open, it is possible to die simply by moving off-screen. One of the boss battles, which would have been an epic chase scene, was rendered unplayable by a ridiculous amount of lag for no apparent reason. Sometimes I re-spawned below the stage and was forced to restart.

“Not without its flaws”The boss battles themselves are largely hit or miss. The first two were chores more than anything else, failing to incorporate the mechanics of the game into the fight, and with no penalty to death, it’s just point and shoot. Later on this is remedied, but it’s not until after half the game has already gone by.

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There’s also a lot of trial and error to go around, as some sections require you to fling yourself at such a precise angle and velocity in order to circumvent the stage’s lethal geometry. Some blame can be placed on general lack familiarity with the controls, as navigating by launching yourself isn’t exactly second nature, there are other parts where it’s hard to justify why certain gaps couldn’t be a few pixels wider.

That said, given the hastened pace of the game, you’re never going to find yourself doing the same thing for too long. If clearing out a path by first setting yourself on fire, with mere seconds separating death and the pool of water on the other side, seems tricky, there’s not too much to fear as it’s only a few levels before you move on to the next thing.

And then, after a couple hours, it’s all over. Sure it didn’t make sense but it ends on such a satisfactory note that it’s hard to look down on the eager greenlit kickstarter upper that only meant to be fun. And for the short while that it lasted it was.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2011.

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