Darkness surrounds you as you ready up your weapon in a new era of time, be it past or future. Suddenly, you hear a cry. Something clearly doesn’t like your presence. This is where you find yourself in Time Carnage, an indie survival horror game. Facing off against hordes of zombies, dinosaurs and several other monsters, the player has to mow them down in an arcade-style shooter. Be careful though, the mobs get stronger and they are relentless.
The game is fun as heck to play if you can get the hang of it. Time Carnage does seem to have difficulty to it. I often struggled to defeat the enemy waves, which can feature different monsters, amounts of enemies, and bigger, more difficult versions of the monsters you’re facing. This is great if you are looking for a challenge. However, I will admit I am not terribly comfortable with survival, wave-based games. The campaign starts off with zombies and dogs, but the more you play the more monsters and stages you can unlock.
The graphics of the game are sharp and clear. For example, the zombies and dogs that I encountered in the early game were well modeled and not cheap or tacky. The HUD also doesn’t get in the way, as most of it you need to look down to the little panel to see.
Time Carnage allows several different ways to play the game, including gyroscope on the joycons, using the joycons in the grip, using a pro controller, and other versions of the game support VR. It allows you as the player to play how you want when you want. It is a lot harder to aim though on the gyroscope. This is actually quite a good thing as it challenges you a little bit more to get better, and in turn, you will find the game easier to play.
Another thing I like is how the guns are balanced, damage-wise. The default pistol, for example, is a one-bullet headshot or two/three bullets in the body (depending on the enemy I was fighting). The SMG, however, took several bullets. This difference promotes two different playstyles as it is a lot harder to be accurate with the pistol than to “spray and pray” with the SMG. It allows versatility as well as a skill ceiling to aim for.
Unfortunately, every game has its flaws and Time Carnage isn’t an exception. Firstly, the loading sound effect is a high-pitched siren and actually gave me a small headache after hearing it a couple of times. Similarly, the loading screen (which gives no indication that it’s actually loading) looks cool but is rather hard to look at for a long length of time as it’s almost hypnotic but with red swirling patterns, instead of black and white. Not only is it uncomfortable to look at, but it also has a lot of frame lag.
In tabletop mode, I found the screen to be too dark and it was hard to see exactly what you were trying to shoot at, especially in the distance. To combat this, I tried playing in docked mode and found no issues with the brightness. With that and the larger screen size, I highly recommend playing on the tv compared to tabletop or handheld.
Reloading in Time Carnage is strange. Instead of pressing X and waiting a time, you press the bumpers, which is also how you equip weapons. This is because you have two sets of weapons that you can equip. When you change weapons, the ones you switched from will reload over time. You can tell when a gun is fully reloaded due to a clicking sound. I started off not liking this, but with how difficult the game is to aim and how quick the enemies can get up to you, I found switching guns over and over to force a reload while still shooting actually helped rather than hindered. Because of this, I started enjoying this unique mechanic.
The game features multiple modes to delve into, including Arcade, Campaign, and Challenges. You unlock new stages, weapons, and challenges by beating the campaign. However, I found that there was a lack of backstory in terms of narrative in the campaign, and it also did not tell you how you can unlock future levels. The only bits of a narrative present are on the selections screen where it tells you what era you are time-traveling to, and a short synopsis of what had happened in that period for some context. It doesn’t actually tell you who you are in anything either. I found after a few attempts that you needed to beat the fifth wave of enemies in order to progress to the next level, which should have been made clearer as I was left scratching my head.
Overall, I find this game to be a solid game to relax with or enjoy with your friends, but not one that I would actively put a lot of my time into. Time Carnage is a “Submission” game; a game which acts as a mindless pastime when you just want to relax. It certainly delivers in that regard, but if you’re someone like me who doesn’t enjoy those type of games, I wouldn’t recommend spending your time on this game.
A Nintendo Switch review copy of Time Carnage was provided by Wales Interactive for the purpose of this review.
- Fun to play for a short time.
- A great game to play with friends.
- Graphics are clean and HUD non-intrusive.
- Reloading mechanic unique but benefits the game.
- Multiple ways to play, both in gamemodes and in controller layout.
- Loading screen and sound obnoxious and annoying
- Brightness too low for Switch's console
- Lack of direction causes confusion
- Lack of backstory makes game feel bland
- Not enough blood and gore (for me)