No Time To Explain starts with the following sentence: “I am you from the future, there’s no time to explain!” Before you know it you’re watching you (no not you, future you) getting mauled and taken by a giant crab that appears to be from outer space. Yep, No Time To Explain is massively daft. But is it any good? Let me um, explain….
It all starts great; the humour is fantastic, it looks cool and the platforming on show has a really unique twist. Whilst you do have a jump button, your ability to jump a meaningful amount in the air leaves a lot to be desired. Kris Kross would be ashamed. Van Halen certainly wouldn’t be impressed. Have no fear though, as you can use your weapon. Simply fire it into the ground and rocket yourself high up into the sky. I say simply, but really it takes a great deal of getting used to. And then when you do finally crack it, you’ll go onto another stage and have to master another weapon. This is the least of your worries though, trust me. Throughout No Time To Explain, your aim is to traverse a various array of platforms, making it to the end of level portal. The further and further you get down the road the more hazards come your way. There will be spikes, laser beams, even flying alligators. Not to mention boss fights. Crazy, nonsensical boss fights. Massive sharks, moles with flames coming out of their eyes and so on. Now I’m aware this all sounds pretty great. I guess it is. There’s just one problem.
No Time To Explain is the hardest game I have ever played in my entire life.
Seriously, it makes Super Meat Boy look like bloody Hannah Montana. The difficult level is so ludicrously brutal. Forget throwing your controller across the room, I spent the majority of my playthrough wanting to throw my TV out the window. And then myself.
Now I’m up for a bit of a challenge. But the reason No Time To Explain is so frustrating is because you feel like you’re being unfairly punished. It’s hard to fathom why a game that relies so heavily on perfection and precision would give you such deliberately bad controls. Some boss fights took me an hour to complete. At least. An hour of the same 2 minute fight over and over again. There’s a scrolling shooter segment that will question every ounce of your sanity. And when I finally beat it, I have to be honest and say I didn’t feel happy or a sense of achievement, I just felt annoyed that the game had burdened me with so many cheap deaths. And it’s hard to decipher who benefits from such difficulty. As someone who has been gaming for a good 20 years I found No Time To Explain virtually impossible at times. Make no mistake, No Time To Explain is only for gamers who love their games hard as nails. Games that are so hard that the anger and frustration stays with you long after you’ve turned your PS4 off. And whilst there is nothing wrong with challenging experiences, a difficulty level that will exclude so many gamers just doesn’t make sense to me.
If you’re completely insane included is a collection of hats to acquire as well as completing the main game. These tend to be located in awkward places in levels. You’ll need to collect all of these if you’re a trophy hunter. However I can’t help but feel that completing the main game itself will take so much energy that getting 100% on the trophy list will probably be a step too far for most people. If you do get it you have all my respect in the world.
No Time To Explain has so much going for it, but the relentlessly punishing difficulty will turn a lot of people off – and that’s a real shame.
Punk rating: 6.5/10