Timespinner is an action sidescroller with time-stop and time-travel elements that is heavily inspired by Symphony of the Night.
What I enjoy most: Experimenting with combining different attack orbs, magic spells and time-stop ability
You play as Lunais, a time messenger travelling through time to seek revenge (and justice) on an evil empire. You eventually were able to travel freely between the past and the present, and also met up with a group of colourful characters in an army camp.
time-stop & time-travel
Time-travel is the main catalyst of the story, and you do travel back and forth completing quest and advancing the story. The premise of the personal story of Lunais is interesting, but, like most time-travelling stories, the rules of time-travel are kind of messy, and do not totally make sense.
In terms of gameplay, there is only very limited amount of mechanics tied to time-travel. There are a few places where you can burn off something in the past to create a clear path in the present, but not much else.
The time-stop ability, on the other hand, is useful for a few puzzles where you can freeze enemies and use them as platforms to reach places where you cannot normally reach. Although these puzzles are also few and far between, you can also use it for speedrunning and combat. For combat, time-stop is definitely useful, but basically it boils down to freezing an attack so you can move to a safe place to attack.
Map, Exploration & Movement
The time-travel means a past map and a present map which are similar to each other in terms of layout, but there are numerous movement abilities and corresponding obstacles to encourage exploration. These abilities are basically the traditional ones from the Castlevania series.
On top of those, there are doors that require a particular attack orb, or specific “keycard” - which are not very interesting. The past—present puzzle mentioned above is neat, but it seems like a missed opportunity to include more puzzles of this kind.
On the other hand, there are secret areas, optional bosses, and an army encampment that you can call your home - with shop and enchantment services to boot.
Timespinner features more than 15 attack orbs, which have different range and elemental attacks - you can also equip different orbs on each hand to create a combination effect, as well as levelling up individual orbs to increase their power. This makes for interesting choice for different situations. You can also choose from a variety of powerful attacking magic. Together with the time-stop ability, combat is (potentially) tactically and strategically rich.
The main problem with combat in Timespinner is that the normal mode is too easy. With harder modes locked behind a password, most people might play the game in normal mode and missed out on the challenge (and the need to think about tactics and strategy).
I think Timespinner is a pleasant game. The time-travelling cause-and-effect stuff are messy, but it can be a fun ride seeing where Lunais ends up. Playing on normal mode is a bit boring, unless you are really into the characters and the story. Although the combat system is interesting, I hope that the main selling point of the game - time-stop and time-travel - could be more interesting and more important.
List of metroidvania elements
Name of game: Timespinner
Developer / Publisher: Lunar Ray Games / Chucklefish
System: PC, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita
Year of publication: 2018
Style of combat: Melee
Use of magic: Yes
Combat-focus versus Platform-focus: Combat-focus
Death mechanics: Last saved game (or instant respawn)
(Fall damage): No
Levelling / Farming for XP: Yes
Farming for Gold / Item: Yes
Skill pick-up: Yes
(Stats allocation): No
Gated by movement abilities: Yes
Gated by bosses: Yes
Type of world map: Double map
World generation: Fixed map
Time-stop & Time-travel