Time Surfer, a Tiny Wings-style endless runner (er, surfer) from Kumobius, is now available from the app store. Time Surfer utilizes the same one-touch dive-and-fly mechanics, the same procedurally-generated level designs, and the same tri-mission element as its predecessor, but there’s plenty of new material here (including its time rewind function) to set it apart and help it stand on its own.
Time Surfer Pros:
- Cool retro presentation bursting with color and character; good sense of speed and smooth animations
- Chiptune soundtrack is pleasant
- Touch controls are responsive and dead simple
- Clever elements and terrific time rewind function offer cool strategic options
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards
Time Surfer Cons:
- Easy to lose momentum and get stuck in a spot where Time Rewind won’t help much
- Most items to purchase are simply cosmetic
Much like Tiny Wings’ day-night cycle that will eventually catch up to you and end your run, Time Surfer pits you against the End of the Universe, represented by a glowing yellow light that approaches from the screen’s left side. Whereas the night in Tiny Wings doesn’t make itself known for some time, the End of the Universe is nearly upon you from the get-go, forcing you to make some quick moves out of the gate to avoid being consumed before you can really get moving. The perpetually hilly landscape is broken into smaller sections, allowing for the opportunity to end your run by falling into a gap or failing to maintain enough speed to propel yourself to the next undulating section. Spiky outcrops are also a problem in space. Fortunately, there are a number of environmental objects to employ, including aliens, asteroids, planetary rings, boost pads, hovering cakes, and a handful of power-ups like magnets, rewind refills, and boosts. Diving on top of the aliens, asteroids, and planetary rings will bounce your surfer forward at a smoother clip than if he had to negotiate the hills. Mis-timing your approach and hitting the aliens and asteroids from the side or bottom will send them crashing to the surface, dissipating your momentum.
There are also sections full of purple gems that can be collected to refill your Time Rewind meter. Provided that you have some juice in the tank, you can rewind short portions of your run to attempt a more favorable outcome. If you dove too early and hit the upside of a hill, smacked into an alien, or allowed yourself to fall into a gap, you can quickly scrub the previous few seconds and have another pass at it. This function can greatly extend your run and enjoyment. Completing any of the 3 available missions will award you with cake, the game’s form of currency. Cake allows you to purchase new surfer skins or new pets. You can select to take along a pet on your journey, which will cost you a bit of cake each time you do. Each of the pets provides a helpful bonus, such as starting your run with a speed boost or resurrecting your surfer one time if he dies in a pit. You can also elect to run solo if you want to save up your cake to make another purchase.
Graphically, Time Surfer is bursting with color and style, giving off a very old school vibe that gives the game a lot of character. The sense of speed and smooth animations are terrific. You are judged on how far you are able to surf before you ultimately die, so finding any and all ways to squeeze every last meter out of each run is your main focus. The chiptune soundtrack matches the game’s art style nicely. Controls require you to press the right side of the screen to dive and press the left to rewind time. It’s very easy to master in a matter of moments.
Replay value is very good, as any given run could result in a new high score depending on how well you negotiate the curves and time your dives. When used appropriately, the Time Rewind function can eliminate your most egregious errors and its refillable nature means that you can end up with some incredibly long runs. Get too cocky and you can try Hell Mode. Trust us, you’re not gonna be smiling for long. GameCenter integration allows for global leaderboards for both modes. A universal app for a paltry $0.99, Time Surfer is a fantastic 4.5-Dimple choice.
Time Surfer Review,