The current era of gaming is filled with “throwback” games that attempt to re-create the pixelated side-scrolling style of the countless platformers from the early 90’s. Remember Dinosaurs for Hire? Gunstar Heroes? Super Turrican? If you do, not only should you friend me on Facebook, but you should also be playing Super Time Force Ultra (STFU). Normally I’d wait until the end of a review to make that claim, but STFU rewards you for doing things backwards. Sort of.
STFU is a fast-paced 2D side-scrolling run and gun game that looks like Dinosaurs for Hire or Metal Slug in screenshots, but the emphasis on time travel as an actual play mechanic makes STFU feel more like a puzzle game. Whenever you die, or made a mistake and want a “do-over”, you can hit a button and rewind time to a specific point in the level and try again. If you rewind time and manage to prevent your past self from dying, then you can absorb the essence of your past self and use two (or more!) special weapons at the same time. Sometimes you have to rewind time in order to stack damage on a boss, or rewind time to take a different route through the level and grab a collectible that was out of reach the first time through the level.
Each level is fairly short but a strict timer of one minute adds tension to even the shortest of the levels. Worlds are comprised of 3 to 5 levels, and each one is chock full of an absurdist sense of humor that would not be out of place on Cartoon Network after midnight. If saving Atlantis by feeding a Greek God the world’s largest hoagie or the STFU commanding officer wearing two eyepatches makes you smirk even a little, then the humor of STFU is perfect for you.
Pixelated graphics may be passé’, but STFU’s style is infused with personality from the aforementioned double eye patches to a skateboarding dinosaur. When you have many, many versions of yourself on screen the game does start to slow down for a bit, at least it did on my Playstation Vita, but other than those few moments I had no slowdown or dropped frames. Controlling your STFU agents is just as tight and responsive as the frame rate with, from what I could discern, no input lag at all.
Developed by Capy, a company with a great track record, STFU also includes Playstation exclusive characters and trophies just for them: Sir Gallahad from The Order: 1886, The Character From Journey from Journey and President of Sony Computer Entertainment, Shuhei Yoshida. Super Time Force Ultra is an excellent pick up and play game that harkens back to an older era without losing itself to nostalgia.
Score: 7 = A good game with a few small problems.
Super Time Force Ultra was reviewed for the Playstation 4