Time Pilot Reviews

  • Tasty PastryTasty Pastry488,312
    26 Nov 2010 30 Mar 2011
    26 0 6
    Forward Notes:

    I picked up this game in a bundle when I purchased a $20 joystick. The bundle also game with Frogger and Astropop, which was a lovely deal. Prior to playing this game on the Xbox 360 I had never played it before, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand its nostalgic value. Let’s get going then.

    Single Player:

    The game starts you off in the early 20th century. You’re a plane with two controls: steer and shoot. You’re high above the ground, in the air, with simple clouds floating behind you. You can choose to go up, down, left, right, or some combination of the four as you travel across the sky. While doing so numerous enemies will appear. Your plane is outfitted with a machine gun type weapon that fires out of the fuselage area of the plane (the enemies have the same on this first level, but they also have bombs which they can lob out of their planes at you).

    In short, the purpose of the game is to destroy the enemies. While doing so a bar at the bottom left of the screen will start to indicate to you how much progress you’ve made towards completion of the level. Destroy enough of the enemies and the level will introduce a boss type flying vehicle that you will need to destroy to trigger the next level. After completion of the first level (1910) you will advance forward in time (hence the name, Time Pilot). The game will continue like this as you encounter stronger and better equipped enemies as you go.
    The game comes set with a lives system as well as scoring.

    Gaining X amount of points will net you an extra life. Beyond killing enemies you can also rescue paratroopers (by flying into them) which results in an increase in points as well. As the enemies fighting systems become more and more advanced it will become necessary to navigate and shoot with better precision and ability. The game can become extremely discouraging very quickly, but once the logic is figured out (Oh, I can shoot the missiles as they are coming at me!) the game becomes a test of your patience and ability to practice. Although I will never describe the game as easy, with an hour of repeated play I was able to make it to the third level in consecutive plays without losing a life (and actually gaining one).

    For a large portion of users on this website, this game is going to be before your time. As an avid lover of old video games it came with a nostalgic feel that kept me wanting to keep trying to beat it – I felt like I was the kid standing in front of the arcade machine with the pocketful of quarters trying to get the new highest score. However, this also makes it very possible that this game will not appeal whatsoever to the younger crowd. Let’s be clear on one thing: the game is simple. But while it’s simple, it’s also got that “difficult to master” feel which makes a game a classic. You know better than I do whether or not this type of game is for you. My scoring is in the context of the type of game that Time Pilot is supposed to be, not as a comparison against new era arcade games.

    Single Player Score: 8/10


    Surprisingly you can play a ranked match or player match. There is versus mode and co-op mode. I have searched for about an hour and have not been able to find an opponent. Alternatively you can play two player local. I will not be able to give an assessment of this area, thus I'm giving it a score of N/A.


    Graphically, you shouldn’t be really caring. The game has about the same graphics as what you’d expect out of Dig Dug, Frogger, or Burger Time. If up to date graphics are something that you’re looking for, this is not a game you should be considering purchasing. The xbox 360 version appears to stay true to the original, and it works. It’s very clear what you’re shooting, who the paratroopers are, and who the boss is, and the background colors reflect what era of time you are located in.

    The sound is best described as “helpful”. You will be able to hear when opponents throw bombs at you or when a big boss in a zeppelin is flying past. Beyond that there isn’t much background music, so I often had my music playing on my computer next to me as I played. Although I wouldn’t have minded a bit more in the tunes department, I think some computer generated audio file would have gotten on my nerves pretty quickly.

    There is no DLC, which makes sense. Obviously the core intangible is the classicness of the game. Can I really put a rating on nostalgia? Besides that the game falls into the classic “easy to learn, hard to master”. There are only two controls to take care of, so even your seven year old kid can pick this one up and play. Of course, with that, comes the possibility of extreme frustration, especially when it comes to some of the achievements…

    Graphics: 8/10, Sound: 6/10, DLC: N/A, Intangibles: 9/10. Group Score: 7.6/10


    The achievements are logical considering the simpleness of the game. There are achievements for making it to some of the new time eras of the game, making it to some of those time eras without losing a life, or for fulfilling odd tasks inside those levels (save 10 paratroopers, destroy 10 bombs, etc). About seven of these achievements are very easy to get if you’re aware of them, with the last couple taking a significant amount of work.

    Making it to the last level and completing it is very hard in itself, but the achievement of making it through without losing a life is near impossible to get with just “picking up and playing”. It will require a significant amount of practice, and without a “clear way” to do it there will be a significant amount of trial and error. Only the most hardcore completionists will bother to get all 200. That being said, these are the exact kind of achievements I think this game deserves. While there are quite a few that are very capable to be gotten if you’re aware of them, they allow you to play the game in a different way, while also throwing you some freebies even if you’re not very good. The last couple ones are real achievements in that you will personally celebrate upon getting them to pop. In my opinion, perfect achievements.

    Achievement Score: 10/10

    Total Score: (10+7.6+8)/3 = 8.5/10 = 4.27/5

    Final Thoughts:

    Please keep in mind that my score is reflective of a game in this type of category. I do not believe that this game is on equal ground compared to retail or even arcade “blockbusters”. My score is the result of how well this game has held up to the test of time, how easy it is to pick up and play, and yet how hard it is to master. If you aren’t a fan of simple old-school games, this isn’t the game for you, and that’s it, plain and simple. If you played this game as a kid you definitely might want to give this one a look. I hope you enjoyed reading my review, please leave a comment below if you felt I misrepresented something or omitted something. Thanks!
    Showing all 6 comments.
    dudecrazy108Another classic review!
    Posted by dudecrazy108 on 27 Nov 10 at 01:25
    Skeptical MarioNice review. Thumbs up!

    One typo near the beginning: "I picked up this game in a bundle that game when I purchased a $20 joystick."
    Posted by Skeptical Mario on 27 Nov 10 at 01:45
    vSullySolid review of a game I dumped countless quarters into as a kid.

    But you made a mistake describing the progress bar in the 2nd paragraph of the "single player" section. It's actually at the bottom (left) of the screen.
    Posted by vSully on 30 Mar 11 at 12:01
    Tasty PastryFixed, nice catch.
    Posted by Tasty Pastry on 30 Mar 11 at 13:33
    Ferocious SwanGood review!
    Posted by Ferocious Swan on 12 Aug 12 at 17:07
    Toru YanoCool thing about this game, it was originally developed in secret by a graphics designer assigned to work on a driving game that revolved around getting a driving license by navigating dangerous roads.
    Posted by Toru Yano on 14 Aug 13 at 13:28
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