Saturday, January 12, 2013

Time Surfer [Kumobius] - $0.99

There have been quite a few Tiny Wings (or Wavespark, or whatever else you wanna say started it all) clones to hit the AppStore over the last year and a half. That’s not to say that there’s not a couple that are definitely worth checking out, but it seems like none of them really took the Tiny Wings type of gameplay and ran with it in any productive way. This is where Kumobius comes in with their newest iOS release; Time Surfer, which takes the whole Tiny Wings type gameplay and cranks everything up to 11.

I will admit that I never caught on with the whole Tiny Wings phenomenon, but I can see why people enjoy it so much. The simple yet challenging endless gameplay appeals to quite a few different types of gamers, and the production values were top notch. I’m not too sure why I didn’t catch on with it, but I didn’t. However, Time Surfer seems to tap into just about every single one of the mechanics on my own personal ‘mechanics that games need to have to be addictive’ list. Seems like the only thing missing is a complex scoring system with multipliers, combos and the like, and in all actuality, that wouldn’t really work here, so it’s hard to hold that against Kumobius. 

In Time Surfer, you’ll control Chronopi, a time surfer. While hanging out in space, he notices a huge bang. The beginning of the end of the Universe. Generally, these are dealt with by rewinding time in the specific region in order to contain and prevent this bang from happening. However, this bang is a ’Stage 6’ end of the Universe, which meant that Chronopi couldn’t handle it on his own. Realizing this, he needs to race to the Cosmic Sanctuary, where the other time surfers are so that he can warn them, get their help, and stop the Universe from ending. None of this is actually talked about in the game, but Kumobius was kind enough to share a comic strip detailing it all. 

Now, once you start off, you’ll be all on your own, racing through space to try and get to the Cosmic Sanctuary. Controls are simple, with the right side of the screen used to pull your character downward, and the right side used for turning back time. You’re given 3 objectives and once they‘re completed, your rank will rise and ‘pets’ will be unlocked. You’re able to take one pet with you on each run, and use their special powers to help you get further, avoid hazards, or get little perks. But you’ll also need to keep in mind that using a pet costs currency, in this case, cake. Cake can be collected in-game and is also given to you for each objective that you complete. You can, of course, also purchase cake through the game’s In App Purchase. 

As mentioned, you’re also able to turn back time. Chronopi is able to use gems in order to go back in time if there was something he missed, made a mistake, dies or just wants to nail that dip for a perfect jump. Gems are scattered everywhere in the game, so using the time rewind ability is something that you’ll be able to use, and use often, eventually mastering it, and being able to use it to your advantage just about every chance you get.  

Mixed in with all of this, you’ll come across planets with rings that you can grind for a speed boost, speed boosters on the ‘track’ that you can use, power ups like extra gems, magnets and speed boosts, aliens and asteroids that you’ll be able to jump on and get a nice little speed boost and be flung upward a bit, but that also can stop you in your tracks if you just smash into them from the side or underneath, holes in the tracks and spikes that can both result in a game over. Not to mention the blast from the end of the Universe hot on your trail; slow down too much and it’ll eat you alive. Also included in the game is a Hell Mode, where spikes are everywhere and a challenge that’s off the charts. If you’ve played Kumobius’ previous title, Bean’s Quest, you know how challenging their games can be, and Hell Mode here is a perfect example.

Once you get a few pets unlocked, or just like being able to customize the look of your character, you’ll be able to use cake to unlock different costumes (like the Samurai, Old, Crystal, Retro and Platinum outfits), vehicles (like a Police Box, 80’s Future Car, Golden Vessel, Classic Rocket and more), different characters (The Monkey King, Future Assassin, Future Swordsman and more, even including Mikey Shorts) and ‘toons’ (like Emilio - the bean from Bean’s Quest - Clock Boy, Pink Unicorn and others). You’ll also be able to purchase different ‘Flair’ which changes the trail you leave behind you as you speed along. 

The graphics are basically the same as Kumobius’s other iOS title, Bean’s Quest (which happens to be FREE at the moment, in celebration of the release of Time Surfer), a ‘Modern Retro’ look with loads of colors, beautiful pixels and some great animations. The BGM was done by FlashyGoodness, who also did the soundtrack for Bean’s Quest, and fits the game perfectly. 

Priced at $0.99, being Universal, and supporting every device from the iPad 1, iPhone 3GS, iPod 3 and up, not to mention the GameCenter integration with leaderboards for both Normal and Hell Modes and iCloud support that transfers over all of your unlocked costumes, pets, rank and cake purchases, it’s one hell of a deal. The endless gameplay and replayability has the potential to keep players busy for hours on end. Even if you weren’t a fan of Tiny Wings, Time Surfer’s mechanics, pets, and powerups will have you hooked, especially once the time rewind ability ‘clicks’ with you. Kumobius has also said that more modes and costumes are in the line for updates, and with the way Bean’s Quest was treated, those features are just about a sure thing (baring some unforeseeable catastrophe). Time Surfer is definitely a game fans of endless gameplay, Tiny Wings, time rewind mechanics, retro games, arcade games, high-score games… basically that everyone should check out. 


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