18th Jun2019

‘Timespinner’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

Timespinner-1

Now on the Nintendo Switch, Timespinner is a nifty title that takes a great deal of inspiration from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and manages to do it justice…

Lunais is a timekeeper, able to use the titular Timespinner (a sort of time-portal opening loom) to move between time periods, she is part of a sect sworn to bring down those who threaten the way of life on the planet Lachiem. With her mother murdered and the Timespinner shattered, Lunais finds herself stranded a thousand years in the past…but can she still save her people and planet?

As mentioned above, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is clearly the blueprint here. From the Gothic music and visuals down to the art style in the menu systems, anyone who has played Konami’s PS1 masterpiece will find a lot of references here. That isn’t to say that this feels like a budget / rip-off version of that game but the influence is undeniable.

Set in a purely 2D platforming environment and coming in at around 5-6 hours in length, there is a lot of world-building lore to be discovered and a lot of fun unlockables such as the ability to collect different orbs which are used as your main mode of attack and various upgrades to your health and aura (the ‘mana’ of Timespinner). There’s also a neat mechanic whereby Lunais is able to briefly stop time which comes in handy during the puzzle sections of the game where you need to use enemies as platforms and the like. There are also a lot of pick-ups which allow you access to different sections of the map as you progress deeper into the game. There is a sense of aging in the combat and enemy placement which feels very ‘patterny’ in that you can only attack horizontally and the foes that you engage in combat feel rigid and basic. At the start of the game this isn’t an issue but by the end, the constant re-spawning and repetitiveness in the casual combat did wear on me a little, a bit more looseness or perhaps variety in some of the more corridor-like areas would have gone a long way. That said, it’s a relatively minor niggle as the boss-fights and general sense of exploration feel satisfying and the map is not so labrynthine that you feel lost all the time.

Timespinner-2

With its tight design and moody (and varied) soundtrack, Timespinner is a great example of a retro-styled Metroidvania title that manages to carve its own niche in the genre. The characters and enemy designs are colourful in their pixelated glory and I really enjoyed unlocking the map and working my way through the world. It does rely heavily on the designs of the godfather of this genre and with that come some moments that feel a bit creaky but Lunar Ray Games are a development house I’ll be keeping my peepers on and I’m genuinely intrigued where they will go from here, will they further refine the formula set in Timespinner or go fully in their own direction?

In the end, Timespinner is a title that I’d happily recommend to both fans of the genre as well as newcomers.

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