The Nintendo Switch is home to many great Metroidvania games, and lately it seems like there is at least one of them releasing each week. Gato Roboto released two weeks ago while Timespinner arrived on Switch just last week. When I learned Timespinner was confirmed for Switch however, I was immediately interested due to the Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (SOTN) vibes I got from the trailer. Some feel that the Switch has too many 2D platform action/adventure role playing games though, so how does this one fare?
You play as Lunais, a Timekeeper, whose family is literally murdered in front of her own eyes during her birthday party by Emperor Nuvius. This is bad enough, but the fact that all of this happens within the opening minutes of the game makes it that much worse. To no surprise, Lunais immediately seeks revenge on the people that killed her family. As a Time Messenger in training, her responsibility is to travel back in time to warn others of danger. As her mother is killed, she sends Lunais thru the timespinner (their traveling mechanism) before it is destroyed. From there, the player will travel back and forth between the present and past, uncovering important information about Lachiem – the primary game world – while the revenge of Lunais unfolds.
In a nutshell, Timespinner is a Metroidvania game where you travel between two timelines on your quest for revenge. You will meet several NPCs which will give you quests, most of which require travelling between the two timelines in order to come to a resolution. The combat in the game isn’t very complicated – Lunais uses orbs for basic attacks and can perform spells via equippable necklaces. You find different types of orbs on your quest, which can be paired together to create various combinations. Later on, you find an item which allows you to build and customize three loadouts that you can easily swap between on-the-fly. This allows the player a lot of room for customization in order to discover what best fits their play style or the task at hand.
Lunais has the ability to temporarily freeze time in order to solve some puzzles, get to hard to reach areas, or dodge devastating attacks during boss fights. In addition to these abilities, Lunais can back-dash and, later on, can learn how to double jump and glide. These abilities, and the previously mentioned orbs (and side quests), are found through exploration, and that is one of this Timespinner’s biggest strengths. If you want to 100% the map, you will need to search high and low, using all your abilities to find all the upgrades and treasures this game has to offer. Once you complete the roughly 10 hour campaign, there are extras for the player to discover via missing upgrades and collectibles, or you can try the challenging new game + and nightmare difficulty options that unlock thereafter.
Audio & Visuals
The pixel art in Timespinner is beautiful and well done. As you transition to different environments, the theme and enemy designs align and you can really feel (and see) the game’s tone of heartbreak and revenge. All of the areas you traverse are well crafted and take advantage of the game’s gorgeous pixel art. The audio is top notch too, giving the player the right cues during boss fights or when they are able to break a hidden wall.
I really enjoyed my play though of Timespinner. I found myself unable to put it down until I finally rolled the credits – but I am still not done. I want to check out the new game modes and find the few collectibles and rooms I am missing that are keeping me from that 100% completion rate. My only complaints are I think they could have better utilized the time freezing mechanic as I felt myself only using it during boss fights – later in the game I was powerful enough where I didn’t even need to use it. The other issue I found was the lack of quest or objective markers on the map – it’s not a big issue though, as a little exploring will put you back on the right track. Overall, if you are a fan of Castlevania: SOTN, 2D Metroid games, or just like Metroidvanias in general, Timespinner is one you shouldn’t miss.