No Time To Explain (XB1) Review

Maybe you should have taken the time to explain.

I don’t mind the trial and error puzzle platformer games, as long as a few stipulations are met. The first one being a quick reset; if I die and I’m not back in the action within two or three seconds, I feel like I’m wasting my time. The second criteria would be precise controls. If I die in these types of games, it has to be because I messed up somehow, not that the game has a clunky control scheme. While No Time to Explain does well with the first issue, the second is a bit of a different story.

When a guy’s home is almost destroyed by himself from the future that is then captured by a giant crab, the player must control the confused hero in order to rescue his future self for reasons not really known. All because his future self had no time to explain what was going on.

Platforms: PC, XB1
MSRP: $14.99
Price I’d pay: $7
Multiplayer: Local co-op

Laser jetpack joyride.

No Time to Explain (NTtE) is a puzzle platformer with trial and error gameplay. In the same vein as Super Meat Boy, players will have to navigate a hazardous level without getting hit once, otherwise they must start at their last checkpoint. What sets NTtE apart from others in the genre is how it is controlled. The main character uses a laser gun that serves not only as a weapon, but also as a projection device much like a jetpack. Using the right stick to aim his beam, players can lift him over obstacles and reach higher places.

The level layout is familiar to most platformers. Each level usually lasts no more than 20 seconds, and is usually filled with spikes and other obstacles that will try to hinder progress. What becomes the issue is just how accurate the jumping and flying really is. Since I’m only directing and gauging the power of my laser beam, I end up having to guess what will work for a certain section rather than use skill and hand eye coordination. Far too many times I ended up just projecting myself towards my goal and hoping it would work out. In these trial and error games like this, I don’t want that to be the case. I don’t want to leave it up to chance. I want to be able to perfect a level without having to worry about perfect conditions.

Interesting but short changes.

There are a few levels that mix it up. For instance, there was one level where I traded in my laser beam for a shotgun that would forcefully sling the character in the opposite direction and one level that was played out like flying side scrolling shooter where I took on different types of dinosaurs. On top of that, there are boss fights that serve to break up the action a bit that are never too difficult, but still challenging for the time. The disappointing thing is that while these are interesting, they’re a only a few in the game and then it’s right back to the crapshoot that is platforming with the laser beam.

I do have to mention a bug I experienced that brought my progression to a halt. During the flying side scrolling section, if I used up my three lives, I would go back to my last checkpoint and the game would freeze. I would then have to go back to the dashboard, close the game, restart the game, and then try again. Since this game is not particularly easy, I had to do this around seven times before I could perfect that section and move on without running out of lives. It was an annoying bit that forced me to waste a good 20 minutes to close out the program and start it back up.

There is also a local multiplayer option, but I was unfortunately unable to try it out. I could imagine it being a bit hectic, I’m sure with ways to accidentally kill my friends that are supposed to be helping me.

While the look is simplistic and colorful, much like the Flash-to-full release games, it doesn’t deviate much. The dialog and story are minimal, but serves its purpose, and the soundtrack to the game is very well done and fits with the overall game very well.

While not going to blow anyone’s socks off, No Time to Explain is an ok game. The platfoming using the laser beam can get frustrating, especially after realizing it revolves more around dumb luck rather than pure skill. There are some unique things to be seen here, but I would highly recommend a price drop at least.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Interesting concepts
  • Decent presentation
  • A few bugs here and there
  • Imprecise controls
  • Trial and error game play leads to frustration
Written by
Drew is the Community Manager here at ZTGD and his accent simply woos the ladies. His rage is only surpassed by the great one himself and no one should stand between him and his Twizzlers.