Platforms PC, Xbox One
Developer tinyBuild Publisher tinyBuild
Genre Platformer Platform Played On PC
If you have ever wanted to experience absolute chaos while having no idea why things are happening, No Time To Explain is the perfect game for you. As the title suggests, there is no explanation for the occurrences throughout the game. You will even hear the protagonist crying out in confusion that they do not understand why something is happening, or another character may be prepared to explain something but they get killed or kidnapped before being able to explain anything. The latter is exactly what happens at the game’s opening and it sets the tone for the remainder of the fast-paced platformer.
There is almost nothing in the way of instruction on how to proceed or play, but the control scheme is relatively simple and easy to pick up. The introductory levels are incredibly simple and straightforward to allow the player to become familiar and comfortable with the controls and using a giant laser to propel their character across the screen. Not unlike Super Meat Boy, the levels are relatively short and possess very few, if any, mobile enemies, instead favouring environmental hazards. The goal is the same throughout each level: get the protagonist to the wormhole. The refreshing aspect of the wormholes in No Time To Explain is that if the player touches it at any point, the pull of the wormhole ensures the player completes the level. Rather than requiring the player to precisely touch the center or enter the wormhole with very little momentum, having a force which pulls the character back to the wormhole once they’ve touched it, even if they are free falling through it, allows for more creativity in level design. Wormholes may be placed at the bottom of large pits, in far corners near the upper edges of levels, at the end of a particularly frantic platforming segment, or in in a more accessible space.
Hidden throughout the levels are collectible hats for the player to wear. These hats serve absolutely no function beyond varying the appearance of the protagonist and offering something for those who enjoy collecting trinkets. Similar to the difficulty of the levels themselves, the hidden hats vary in difficulty. Some are incredibly simple to locate and grab while others are hidden away in secret areas or require precision platforming to reach. Despite their uselessness, it actually takes a great deal of skill to locate and collect them all.
On occasion, the player will come across a boss fight to break up the monotony of completing short levels. The fights range from simply shooting a target while avoiding its large body to far more complex fights requiring you to watch for patterns and shoot specific body parts through several stages of the fight. While some of the later battles may challenge you, they are not so difficult as to discourage the player from continuing to play the title. The biggest strength of these bosses is truly the refreshing divergence from constant platforming and it makes them more memorable because of this.
The biggest drawback I experienced in No Time To Explain is the sudden change of equipment the protagonist carries halfway through the game. After a boss battle, the character loses the laser beam and instead controls something which is best described as a magnet. The player points the aiming reticle to the desired destination, and depending on how long they hold down the trigger button, the velocity of the protagonist increases, potentially shooting them beyond the desired location, but pulling them back as if attached to a bungee cord. Due to how far you have progressed through the game at this point, the platforming levels require precision to complete, but this new method of movement has a very steep learning curve, which may lead to significant frustration among players.
The remastered version of No Time To Explain provides players with a local multiplayer option, which results in even more chaos, particularly in the later levels. Multiplayer is entirely drop-in/drop-out with no level completion required, making it easy for anybody to join or leave your game as they please. Those who enjoy playing platforming titles with friends and all of the frantic action which ensues when four individuals share a screen will absolutely love this addition. However, for those who are not fans of dying repeatedly simply because your friend is impatient, playing the game solo may be the best course of action.
The lack of plot or reason for any of the action allows for the developers to create any creature or level they wish, but it also makes for a very disjointed experience. This is not to say that the game does not accomplish its goals by not having a story, as No Time To Explain is very clearly designed to have absolutely no coherent plot, and allow for anything and everything to be possible. The end result is simply a series of levels which do not seem to have much tying them together beyond the backdrop being similar for sections of the game. The platforming has a learning curve attached to it due to the laser beam being your primary mode of transportation, but it is simple enough to master. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, the game suffers a bit when the laser is swapped out for a magnet/bungee cord and forces the player to relearn all of their platforming skills. The set pieces used in No Time To Explain are incredibly varied and absolutely ridiculous in the best sense. A groundhog with a drill on its head, dinosaurs shooting lasers, a massive shark which somehow hasn’t snapped the protagonist’s future self in half with a single bite, and the largest robotic alien crab you will ever see are just some of the things you will encounter in No Time To Explain. This title certainly will not fulfill your thirst for meaningful story or provide you dozens of hours of gameplay without friends, but it will undoubtedly given you some laughs and sate your hunger for hectic platforming.
- Lack of plot allows for truly ridiculous moments
- Boss fights offer refreshing change of pace
- Local multiplayer offers even more chaotic fun
- Lack of plot may leave players feeling underwhelmed
- Sudden shift in platforming mechanic leads to frustration
- No incentive offered to collect hidden hats
The Score: 7.2
Eric is an Xbox editor for Analog Addiction where you can find all the latest gaming news, previews, reviews, and everything else that rhymes with those words. ‘Like’ Analog Addiction on Facebook to receive all of the updates as they’re posted.