No Time To Explain is one of those games that is near impossible to accurately describe to someone using words alone. To attempt to explain how your character interacts with himself from the future, who then somehow gets caught within the grasp of a giant crab/flying shark is simply not possible. There isn’t enough time in a day to explain just how bizarre this game is. But alas, I will try.
The game begins with your lovely character shakin’ it to what is presumed to be either an intense workout video or simply his favorite techno track. When your workout/dance-off is interrupted by yourself from the future, you demand that you follow yourself but indicate that you do not have time to explain why. You’re probably thinking that my previous sentence didn’t make any sense, but I assure you that it did.
Armed with your water-blasting gun and your wits, you must travel in time to save the future from certain doom. Freakishly mechanical fauna have overtaken the world and you are the only person that can bring them down. The amazing chiptune music rocks while you use your watergun to propel your way through stages, dodging obstacles and enemies while trying to get to the time-rift portal. This sounds all fine and dandy except for the fact that using the watergun to it’s maximum potential is extremely difficult. In fact, a significant portion of my experience within No Time To Explain was spent trying to time my jump and watergun appropriately so that I could achieve the desired propulsion. This sounds like the game’s core mechanic working as intended, and it is, however after a while it becomes extremely tedious to jump up and down until you finally time it right and shoot yourself over that spikey wall. You will often frustratingly launch yourself directly into obstacles, only to have to repeat the maneuver over and over again until you finally get it right and get to the rift. The saving grace to this cycle of suicidal propulsion is that if you do rocket yourself where you shouldn’t, the game immediately resets you to the last point in time in which your feet were firmly planted in the ground. This helps to not only keep your sanity (the game would have been impossible otherwise), but it also helps to keep the game’s pace quick and lively.
No Time To Explain’s stages are relatively unique and do a good job of introducing new environmental gameplay mechanics as you progress through the game, however they do not necessarily require thought or strategy to traverse. While there are several inventive and engaging puzzles, most of the time you immediately know exactly what you have to do to get to the rift, and its just a matter of fighting the controls until you accomplish your goal. In this sense, more strategic variety would have been helpful to the game overall, as you would feel a sense of accomplishment when you solve a puzzle or encounter. As it stands now, you feel frustration when you know exactly what you have to do but you simply can’t do it.
While the gameplay is frustrating, you’ll find yourself motivated to continue because No Time To Explain’s cutscenes are hilarious. I would even go as far as to say that they are brilliant. Each and every scene is laced with humor and I can honestly say that you never really know what’s going to happen next. I found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions, a feat that very few games have ever managed to accomplish. The writing, art, and dialogue all come together to create hilarious scenes that are worth watching again and again.
The laughs don’t stop there. While your adventuring through the game, you’ll get the opportunity to acquire various “hats”. While ingame they are referred to as hats, many of them aren’t hats at all. Sure if you want to wear a baseball cap you can, but why would you when you could be a doggie or a cracked-out triceratops? Running around as an obese cheeseburger while eating cake and rolling down hills only adds to the charm of battling octo-sharks and robo-squirrels.
While No Time To Explain’s gameplay is certainly frustrating, the game’s charm cannot be understated. It’s a game where quite literally anything can happen, and you’ll find yourself laughing uncontrollably moments after you barely managed to not snap and smash your keyboard into pieces.
+ Cutscenes are hilarious
+ Sweet chiptune beats
- Difficult controls
- Gameplay is more frustrating than fun
- More puzzle variety would have been appreciated
Final Verdict: No Time To Explain is hilarious, and even though the gameplay is maddeningly annoying, the cutscenes always somehow make it worth your while.