A fairly by-the-book wave shooter that ticks a lot of the right boxes, Time Carnage is now out for Vive, Rift and Playstation VR. Here’s the PSVR review.
Obviously VR was always going to have its fair share of wave shooters/shooting gallery games. The first batch of demos proves this already, and I thought the Aim controller was going to create a new influx of (wave) shooter games. That hasn’t happened yet, but with Operation Warcade and Time Carnage we have two brand new examples to play just this week alone.
In Time Carnage, you play through a collection of extremely diverse scenarios thanks to the power of time travel (and a bunch of sci-fi/horror/fantasy influences). There’s not much of a story here, so basically it’s just you traveling through time zones and (alternate) realities looking for things to shoot. Time-wise, expect to go back to the age of the dinosaurs in prehistory while fighting futuristic robots a few minutes later. Or battle with creatures from the ice age before whisking yourself to a post-apocalyptic future filled with zombies. As wave shooters go, Time Carnage certainly doesn’t bore you with an endless stream of “more of the same”.
Before going into a level, you can select your loadout and pick the weapons you think are best suited to the job. You start off with only two weapons to choose from, but playing the game quickly unlocks more and more options. The weapon you’re not currently using automatically gets reloaded, so expect to be switching between weapons quite a bit in the heat of battle. Time Carnage is a dual wield shooter as well, so you’ll be playing with a set of Move controllers and will be firing different combinations of weapons all the time.
There’s a bullet time mechanic in place as well, through something the game calls a “Time Paradox”. Activate one, and time pretty much freezes, allowing you to pick off enemies instead of having them swarm you. This all makes for pretty solid, albeit rather unremarkable, shooting fun. It’s the kind of game you can pretty much have anyone play, even if they have no previous VR experience – you don’t have to move around and just shoot whatever comes at you. Switching weapons and activating things like a Time Paradox or shield takes a little practice, but it’s an arcade-like experience for sure.
It’s a shame the story/campaign wasn’t fleshed out more – the time travel mechanic just feels like a silly gimmick now that’s left mostly unexplored, while it could have provided some great B movie-like plot lines full of over the top twists and interactions. Sadly, the reality is that you’re just going from one shooting gallery to the next one.
Time Carnage’s audiovisual delivery is fairly good, especially when it comes to the audio. Visually it’s a challenge to include so many different backdrops and enemy types, but the developers did a nice job although you shouldn’t expect Rush of Blood-like levels of detail here. The positional audio works great though, and every environment seems to have its own soundscape in place as well.
When you look at recent shooters like Blasters of the Universe, it’s clear that the wave shooter still has room for innovation. Time Carnage unfortunately sticks to a familiar formula, but luckily it’s very competent at doing so. It has diverse levels and enemies, a few game modes and the core shooting works well. If you already own a couple of wave shooters, however, there’s not much you haven’t seen before. If you don’t, then you could do a lot worse than play this one.