Originally posted (with pictures!) on my blog at http://takeaimandgame.blogspot.com/
You know that stereotype of a person who is, like, so totally random? You know how everybody loves
that kind of person? No Time to Explain is essentially the videogame equivalent of that person.
The game opens with the protagonist sitting in his house when his future self busts through the wall. "There's no time to explain!" he exclaims just as a giant pincer grabs him and pulls him off screen. Fortunately, he drops his futuristic laser weapon. Your character arms himself and sets out into the first level.
What follows is a game that tries much too hard to be random. You'll encounter giant sharks, dinosaurs, a living muffin, and a trip inside your own body to cure diabetes. Throughout the game, there was exactly one line that made me chuckle; everything else just seemed pathetic. I've never been a fan of this sort of random humor, and this game certainly didn't change my mind.
The gameplay, on the other hand, isn't too bad, it's just really short.
No Time to Explain is a relatively simple puzzle platformer. Each stage will challenge you to move through obstacles to reach a portal. Instead of just running and jumping, however, your maneuverability comes primarily from that laser weapon from the introduction. It has one hell of a recoil, so you can use it to blast yourself into the air and float back to the ground, or it can propel you across deadly chasms or spikes.
The key to success is then mastery of those controls and careful planning to find the best trajectory.
Along the way, the gimmick for some levels will change. The first major change is the introduction of a high-powered shotgun instead of the laser - it launches you through the air with a single burst instead of the continuous effect of the laser. Other stages use slingshot mechanics or shifting gravity to add new challenges.
In addition to those primary stages, there are a few boss battles and a couple that borrow heavily from other genres (a side-scrolling shoot 'em up is one example), keeping the gameplay relatively fresh as it progresses.
The major flaw is the game's length - it took me about three hours to complete all the stages, including all my trial and error to pass some of the trickier obstacles. What's worse, there's virtually no replay value. The only incentive to revisit stages is to find the hidden collectibles, and even then, most are not too hard to find and obtain. You'll be hard pressed to get more than about five hours of entertainment out of this one, and what you do get is a mild distraction at best. There's nothing deep or compelling about it.
There are only a few achievements in the game, but most deal with completing levels under certain conditions while wearing certain hats (which are the in-game collectibles). Because the levels are pretty short, most of these aren't too hard, and you can get there with a reasonable amount of practice and patience. I would guess that about 10 hours for completion is reasonable - but be warned, those 10 hours will be frustrating because you'll deal with poorly-designed level select, surprisingly long load times, and repeated bits of annoying dialogue.
If you can get it for free, No Time to Explain is a fun little platformer. It's the kind of thing that would have been a cute Flash game a decade ago. Because it tries much too hard to be random and it generally lacks content, however, it's not worth the ludicrously high $15 price tag. Your money is much better spent elsewhere.
My Rating: 2/10 - terrible.(For more info on my rating system, including overall stats, see http://takeaimandgame.blogspot.com/p/reviews.html)