Welp, Planet of the Eyes just ended up being another LIMBO clone (adventure game masquerading as a platformer), so I skipped it and went to the next game:

  • Super Time Force Ultra

    5 hours playtime

    19 of 33 achievements

This is a run ‘n’ gun platformer. Left/right move, A jumps, left-stick/D-pad aims your gun, X shoots, hold X to charge your weapon. What sets this game apart is that whenever you die or push the B button, you use a rewind token and can rewind to any point in your playthrough of the level; when you respawn, an AI will redo your previous actions up to the point you died/hit B, and it stacks for each rewind.

Sounds cool, but the game doesn’t really do anything with it. Stages are your typical run ‘n’ gun platformer fare, complete with an arcade-style time limit and +10sec items scattered throughout the level. The only time the rewind mechanic isn’t used as a glorified checkpoint system are during boss fights (and likely certain achievements), where you literally do not have enough time to beat all the bosses’ phases in time without rewinding, but that’s more annoying than anything. It honestly takes away from whatever work went into making the bosses’ patterns since the mandatory rewinding makes all bosses feel like more of the same, even the final boss.

In fact, the game can be a bit cheap at times. Most things could be transplanted into an average run ‘n’ gun just fine, but every now and then, yellow explosions will obscure yellow enemy projectiles. The worst example of cheap design in the game is the second phase of the 199X boss: it starts as just a background object, but when you beat the first phase, it suddenly turns into an enemy and runs back and forth, before suddenly stopping and jumping to do a ground-pound attack that also sends a shockwave across the entire floor almost immediately.

Granted, you’ll never run out of rewind tokens since the game gives you more than enough to brute-force your way through all the levels and bosses, but that’s still no excuse for bad design.

Outside of the game’s traditional levels are a series of short stages called the Hellodeck, where you’re limited to 1-4 different characters and the goal is to collect all the yellow crystals in the level before they break. At first, this seems like it’d be a surefire way to avoid the problems of the main game since you only have a limited number of rewinds and often need to use all of them just right to win, but this mode has its own problems. It starts off simple, but gradually starts requiring more and more obscure mechanics without telling or showing what those mechanics are or how to pull them off. For example, level 16 starts you in a pit you can’t jump out of, and if you somehow make it up, not long afterward, you encounter a pit you can’t jump across. Turns out, the character this level makes you play as (and ONLY this character) can safely jump on enemies and missiles. Even without moments like that, there are clear signs of the devs running out of ideas, most clearly exemplified by the symmetrical levels that make you do the same thing (at least) twice.

Wait for a good sale. It has its fun moments, but it can also be cheap and repetitive every so often.