Somewhere between Braid and Super Meat Boy lies the epileptic-fit-waiting-to-happen that is Super Time Force Ultra. As various members of the Super Time Force, lead by Commander Repeatski, you’re tasked with saving Earth from the evil Dr Infinity while occasionally popping back in time to change the past in order to ‘improve’ present-day Earth.
STFU’s key selling-point is its Braid-like re-wind feature; if (when) you die you can go back in time to a previous point in the level. Your other incarnations will carry on the fight from where they were at the same time, and can be rescued if you destroy what killed them originally. The re-wind and re-incarnation features fit seamlessly with the gameplay, and sometimes add an interesting strategy element to a game that otherwise might have been a forgettable platform-shooter.
While this mechanic is a lot of fun most of the time, it does make some parts of the game a bit of a grind. Most of the boss-fights end up being very repetitive, as you’re literally trying to do the same thing over and over again. This is highlighted by the fact I found that only one of the characters was particularly effective – while they’re all fun, I’m not ignoring a triple machine-gun in a game where you only have one hit-point, and that means there’s very little variation throughout the game.
Visually, STFU is fantastic. Landscapes and cutscenes are brilliantly detailed, so that despite the game’s simple art style everything still feels alive. What’s truly impressive though, is the combination of these game environments and what’s happening on-screen. The game is ridiculously action-packed, and yet its active and passive elements fit together seamlessly.
Super Time Force Ultra is a lot of fun, up to a point. It’s hugely funny, brilliantly detailed, and the action never stops. What lets it down is that it relies too heavily on repetition – while the re-wind mechanic is what makes the game special, it can also keep you grinding away at the same 5 seconds of gameplay for far too long.