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No Time to Explain Review: A Funny, Frustrating Experience
No Time To Explain is a fast-paced platformer that shoves you right into the action. The game revels in crazy situations and made me laugh quite often. You start off in your house, just dancing around, when suddenly there’s an explosion and half your house is gone. You find yourself looking at another version of you, though dressed much cooler. “I am the you from the future!” he says. There’s probably more to it, but then a giant crab claw grabs the future you and hauls him away. But before the claw can take him away, he drops his gun, which you pick up. Then you follow him out of the house and the game really begins.
Even though there’s No Time to Explain, a little fooling around with the beam gun will show you how to navigate in the world. The beam gun works kind of like a jetpack, providing lift for your meager jumps and thus access to the spinning ball portals that float above your lawn and provide access to the various levels. The beam serves as primary transportation though a variety of fiendish obstacles on each level, where you need precise jumps to avoid spikes and other hazards that will stop your progress.
There’s plenty of comedy in this game while you’re trying to defeat the obstacles in front of you, all of it coming from the future you who’s caught in some terrible situation. Something about being caught in the deadly embrace of a giant crab or being held in the jaws of a flying shark brings out the comedian in the future you.
Death isn’t a major delay here, as when you die you start either at the beginning of your current screen or close to where you died. It’s a good thing that dying isn’t really a big deal, because you do it a lot. There are places where the only way you figure out the correct way across the board is by dying once or twice. I don’t have a problem with a game being pretty easy on you when death occurs, but No Time To Explain seems to take for granted that all the deaths won’t end up frustrating the player and I’m not quite sure that’s true. There are the boards where if you screw something up, you’re left with no choice but to die and start it over again.
Then there are the water hazards, which steal the strength from your beam. For the most part they didn’t bother me, as it was a good balance of frustration and challenge. But there was one watery spot that stretched the entirety of the screen and that took me a long time to defeat. It was frustrating because once you missed and ended up in the water, there was no choice but to sink to the bottom and let yourself be impaled on the spikes so you could start over. I don’t mind challenging parts of games, but this one ended up slowing down the fast pace of the game by taking too many tries to defeat. It also hurts replayability because you don’t want to have to endure that pain in the butt obstacle again.
The controls for the weapons can be a touch sensitive, and it takes a while to learn how much force to apply and what angles will best serve to get you across the board. It helps that dying doesn’t have much real effect, but the lessons you learn on one board don’t necessarily help you on the next, so there’s a constant learning curve.
There are boss fights in the game, mostly where you finally get to beat up the tormentors of the future you. They’re not very difficult for the most part, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if your attacks are being effective against the bosses.