It’s probably just me, but it seems like the buzzword for action/adventure games in the last 12 months has been time, or in this case, the ability to slow it down. With titles such as Quantum Break and indie sensation SUPERHOT flying the flag for chrono-challenged story-telling and gameplay, this creates new opportunities for unique gaming experiences.
One such experience is Tick Tock Bang Bang, the newest creation from Dejobaan Studios. Following on from such wonderfully named titles such as AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! and Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby (yes, these are legitimate game titles), Tick Tock sees you take on the role of a stuntwoman for a movie recounting the 2032 robot attack in Boston, MA. While an interesting premise for a movie, it’s even more interesting when you take into account your special ability.
When you walk it’s business as usual, but when you stop, time slows down, almost to a crawl. It’s a good thing it does, too, because you might want to dodge that large truck hurtling towards you, or pick up that gun and figure out how to time some shots so you can defeat those robots. Each stage, or scene, is a gradually more outlandish set of stunts as you move throughout the filming process in probably the most action packed movie of the 2030s. Or, at least from what I’ve seen in this preview build.
If there’s anything to take away from this game, it’s a sense of planning. If you mess up the scene, no matter how far you get (and some of them can go on for longer than you’d think), you must start from the beginning. You’ve therefore gotta think ahead because trial and error isn’t necessarily the best way to get past a garbage truck about to turn you into roadkill.
While obvious similarities can and will be made between Tick Tock and the previously mentioned SUPERHOT through the mechanic of slowing down time due to inactivity, Tick Tock is always moving, meaning that you’ve got to make split-second decisions on the fly to navigate these scenes. You don’t have as much time to stop and ponder your next move. At times, the scenes are more about navigation and movement rather than a deadeye shot, and therefore it becomes more of a puzzle game rather than a standard shooter. This makes your moves and the speed in which you do them so incredibly important.
When you do get some time to take in the game itself, it looks fantastic. Taking a look at neo-Boston, the futuristic layout of a city that always retained some sort of rustic heritage, the landscape is vast, open and vivid, with a vibrant colour scheme. Explosions pop, the cars hurtling towards your skull shine nicely in the sunlight… oh, you should probably be paying more attention to them, really.
If you fancy your own challenge after you complete the 52 levels available to you, why not take up the game’s level creator? Allowing you to create either levels where you can throw as many cars at your friends as you see fit, or boss levels that test your movement and sense of timing, the game’s primary feature gives you plenty at your disposal. While the editor’s interface isn’t as user-friendly as the one in the last game I reviewed, Gunscape, there’s plenty of help to guide you through what is sometimes a slightly frustrating process. Steam Workshop integration also means that there’s plenty of fun to be had in the near future with the community’s creations.
A lot of Tick Tock Bang Bang’s fun stems from the thrill (or in this case, panic) associated with figuring out your next step forward. While there probably could be a bit more variety in what enemies you face, the ability to share and create levels means there’s always something new to discover. It’s good, harmless fun to definitely jump into…and then navigate your way around. Very slowly.
Matt Tilby is a budding writer, college student and a huge games/sports nerd. Hit him up at @itstilby!