Day 161: Timeslip

Posted: 2011/04/19 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #161, and today’s game is “Timeslip”.

Timeslip was originally released as a “Net Yaroze” game on a coverdisc for UK PLaystation magazine. Later released, in a significantly prettier form, as an XBLIG, Timeslip features a snail who’s caught in a temporal disturbance. A little like the movie Groundhog Day, the snail has to forever repeat the last few seconds of its life as you guide it through levels past doppelgangers of its previous self. This opens the game up to unique challenges (avoiding your own echoes, ala a great XBLIG by Halfbrick) and solutions to puzzles (using your doppelganger to stand on a switch to open a door).

First, from the developer (SmudgedCat):

“This classic puzzle/platformer originally appeared on a UK Playstation magazine cover disk. It features a time travelling snail who must use earlier versions of himself to solve some fiendish levels without bumping into himself and causing a paradox.”

This game came out in 1999. That was well before Braid, well before “Blinx: The Time Sweeper”, or any other time-bending puzzle platformer game I can think of. Like with Xbox Live’s Indie Games, this was a user-created game. The bar was a little higher to create user-created Playstation games, you not only needed a computer but also a special $750 kit that included a special Playstation console for debugging purposes and the development software. Sony also didn’t provide a distribution and billing system for aspiring developers the way Microsoft does on the Xbox, but it did give birth to Timeslip. Never released on the Playstation outside of Europe, the Xbox version is the first international release.

In Timeslip there’s a clock constantly counting down from 30 seconds to 0, and when it gets to 0 time slips back to where you were 30 seconds ago, and everything you did is done again by a ghost snail following in your footsteps. You can use this to your advantage in solving puzzles, and exploring the environment. This is also dangerous, you would create a time paradox if you come in contact with one of your former selves (forcing you to start the current level over). The ease with which this can end the game definitely ramps up the difficulty, since the game does not have mid-level save points. Finishing the game should take even accomplished platformer enthusiasts a couple of hours, and the rest of us longer than that.

The graphics are colourful and work well for the game. For those who want to see how the game improved over the PS1 original, there’s a retro mode that shows the darker, lower-res original game (which shows that not only did the game get a graphical overhaul, but a bit of a philosophical one with garden gnomes in the Xbox version replacing the monsters in the original game). For 80 Microsoft Points, this game has a lot going for it and is well worth checking out.

Click here to download “Timeslip”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.



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