What if you could travel back in time and warn humanity about global warming, pandemics, toxic waste and growing oppressive capitalism? That’s right… nobody would listen and you’d be thrown in a mental ward with bad conditions. But what if you also had platforming skills and magic?! Heck yeah, you could just solve the problem yourself! In Timespinner we’re about to do exactly that.
Your health is getting low, and you’re lost in the depths of Norfair. The only light in this dark hellscape is burning hot lava. You can feel the heat threatening to chip away at your HP. Alien creatures sense your fear and hop towards you aggressively. You fight and push on as far as you can go. You’re not quite sure what’s up ahead, but the hope of an Energy Tank or any kind of upgrade is keeping you going. You could go back and farm for health, or you could risk the unknown for a big pay off. What’s there to lose? You can always respawn and try again with full health…. oh wait, no you can’t. Help is not coming.
Dying in Metroid punishes you by reviving you with 30HP, regardless of how many additional e-tanks you had. This means enemies can kill you in a few hits, and farming health back will take more than a dozen enemy kills to get. The odds are never in your favour, as you lose health much faster than you can get it back. This might seem unfair but it was essential in creating this feeling of danger while moving forward to the next room. How much are you willing to risk?
What if Metroid was a cat? You would finally be able to crawl. It would also be a completely different game with different level design, different movement options and Nintendo probably would have chosen Yoshi to star in the game instead. Hmmm, that wouldn’t be such a bad timeline. We would have a whole genre of Yoshivanias. Moving on from this alternative past, we have a brand new Indie game called Gato Roboto with a similar aesthetic to the original Metroid on NES. You could argue it’s even more ancient as it lacks a full colour palette. However, once you start playing this game it comes to life and impresses with modern movement and design.
Don’t mind me, I’m just a dung beetle doing my best. It’s a little hard to see with this big ball of poop in front of me, but I just roll with it. Life is all about perspective, and I take things with a side-on view. Getting from one place to another can be difficult, but life is all about the journey itself and I’m having a lot of fun.