Apparently, No Time to Explain has a bit of history behind it. It had already launched on PC before its Xbox One debut and it had a bit of a troubling time, but now tinyBuild have come away from that with this, a “remaster” for PC, and an Xbox One title that’s probably the most frustrating thing I’ve ever played in my entire life. This, is No Time to Explain.
With literally no time to explain, you dive right into the crux of the game which in short is sort of a twin-stick shooter but with a gun so powerful it sends our nameless protagonist flying across the map and it’s this which is the basis of how you move around the game.
You’re given little to no instructions on how to play other than that the left trigger is to jump, the right is to shoot, and the right stick is to direct your plasma-rocket-rifle-thingy. Fortunately the first “level” acts as a tutorial as you discover how the game is put together. Simply put, you face a series of scenarios where you must get to the portal to rescue yourself from the future. You’re required to get to said portal by any means possible, and you’re given an infinite amount of lives to get there.
Once you’ve completed said levels, you’re then thrown into a boss level where you must take-down the creature that’s holding your future self hostage.
For those who played classic platformers such as Sonic the Hedgehog or even Mario, you’ll be instantly familiar with the way the levels progress. There is however the added confusion of parallel universes where players are often tossed a curveball which completely switches up the game, whether it’s a new character appearing from nowhere or a shift in the space-time continuum changing the creature that has your future self hostage.
Also, those familiar with classic platformers, can you remember how difficult and often frustrating they were? Well times that by a million with No Time to Explain. I’ll be honest, I’m a rage quitter. I may have once in my life thrown a controller, and all though I’m not as pissy as I used to be. No Time to Explain brings that pissiness back out of me. Not to say that it’s a bad thing, it actually works in the game’s favour as more often than not you’ll want to beat the “stupid” game no matter how much it pisses you off.
Speaking of nostalgia however, No Time to Explain reminds me a lot of those classic Flash games you’d find on websites like Newgrounds or Ebaums World which I often used to frequent in the early 00s. In fact, if you search online, you can find a very similar game, with a very similar name, playable on a very similar website, though I have no idea if it’s at all affiliated with tinyBuild at all.
That being said, the Flash-like visuals do nothing to hinder my thoughts on the game, it’s actually a refreshing change from developers trying to match AAA graphics and it reminds me of my early teens which isn’t all that bad.
In addition to the game’s 2D side scrolling, almost impossible to beat levels, No Time to Explain is full of little secrets in the form of hats. In each level, if you’re keen eyed or skilled enough, you can collect various hats that’ll allow you to change the head on your character. It may seem like a pointless addition to the game, but it actually works in the players favour with another part of the game.
No Time to Explain is a fantastic yet frustrating single player title. It becomes a million times more awkward when you add more players into the mix. That’s right, this already almost impossible game is made even worse with the addition of local multiplayer. What’s more, the game doesn’t treat each player equal, in fact it’s the total opposite. Are you doing better than your friend or sibling? Well the game will follow you, and leave them behind.
You know how they said that if you can remain friends after playing Portal 2 together, you’re true friends? Well with No Time to Explain, if you come out without a controller lodged in your scull, you really are friends for life.
It probably doesn’t help that the game offers no differentiation between you and your local multiplayer buddies which often leads you you confusing your character with theirs and creates all sorts of chaos. Thankfully that’s where hats come into play. Not that it helps all that much, it’s something, right?
Here’s an example of what a clusterfuck No Time to Explain can be when playing with a friend, specifically my wife:
Yep, we knew exactly what we were supposed to do, but due to the fact that we always want to be the one to solve the puzzle first, we didn’t wait our turn, we just went at it. And that was the result.
Granted, in this case laughs were had as we were constantly just smashing into spikes, but as the game progressed and the need to get the secret hat before anyone else grew, we could see fun was turning into frustration.
Overall No Time to Explain is a pretty intense game which throws all rules out of the window, at least when it comes to being an enjoyable but slightly difficult platformer. tinyBuild have successfully created a game which brings the quitter out in anyone.
Don’t get me wrong, the game is silly, it’s fun, it’s challenging, but it’s also hard, rage inducing, and annoying – all of the things a quality platformer should have. One thing I will say though, the game’s PC counterpart uses a mouse in order to aim the jetpack-rocket-laser-blaster-thingy, which I can imagine is the most frustrating thing in the world.
Well done tinyBuild, you’ve managed to create the most rage inducing game ever. Have you ever considered using this as a method of encryption in banks?
This review of No Time to Explain is based on the Xbox One version of the game given to us by tinyBuild.