Once more unto the breach
Not long ago, I did a review on Time Carnage VR. It’s a bit of fun, far from the greatest game but a fun way to pass some time. It doesn’t hurt that playing the game in VR makes you feel like John Wick.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I discovered that Time Carnage was coming to the Nintendo Switch. I wondered if Time Carnage could successfully port to the non-VR Switch, and now I know.
Time Carnage, for the most part, is identical to the VR versions, so I am not going into detail in this review. If you would like to know my thoughts on Time Carnage overall, all of that is covered in my original review.
Today I am more talking about the differences playing Time Carnage on the Switch. In VR, the experience is very intuitive and even natural. You know you are shooting at the things running at you, you reach for your weapons and turn your head to see what is happening around you.
The main difference to gameplay though is the number of waves per level. On the PS4 and PC, each wave has 10 levels. I am yet to see a level past 5 on the Switch though – honestly, not sure what is happening there.
The Switch has none of these benefits however. You can play with motion controls sure, but your choice is the hybrid motion controls or the ‘standard shooter’ controls.
The first difference no matter the control scheme you use is both of your hands point at the same target. In VR, your hands work independently of each other, allowing you great in-game freedom. To simulate this on the Switch is the job of Co-Op mode, where each player controls an arm each.
I say hybrid motion controls, as the movement of your controller moves your aiming reticle on the screen. The sticks still control your body movement and the camera, meaning motion controls is almost the same as the standard shooter controls but has you waving your controller more.
In a lot of ways, motion controls are best for Time Carnage on the Switch – but that’s not saying a lot. Compared to almost any other shooter, the control scheme is unnatural and has a huge learning curve. A game like this should feel like home for any shooter player, instead you feel like you are fighting the control system the entire time.
This is bought home with the motion controls by constantly having to recenter the controller during the waves. Nothing pulls you out of the moment like having to wrestle the controls, and even the PSVR at it’s worst is nothing like the Switch.
Graphically though, the Switch version is surprisingly close to the PC version in terms of screen clarity – it may even exceed the PC in some of the background details.
None of the ‘darkness’ that is present in the PSVR version plagues the Switch version. And that is before tweaking the brightness and gamma in the settings. It may be that the ‘underpowered’ Switch is taking advantage of only needing to render a single image compared to dual images for VR, but it works for what is being presented.
And here is the hardest comparison. Time Carnage was less than AUD$20, making it not a bad purchase for a light Time Crisis/House of the Dead light gun experience. Playing Co-Op only adds to this old-school arcade feeling, but the loose controls make this hard to recommend to people looking for a frantic shooter experience. ‘Missing’ waves doesn’t help either.
I know more expensive, but if you are looking for a fun Switch shooter experience, Splatoon 2 may scratch your jump in/jump out itch. It is going to get even more expensive come September 18th with the Nintendo Online requirement, but the USD$20 a year will give you many other benefits making it a no-brainer buy to me anyway. Also, there is the very free Fortnite.
Yes, both of these games are very different from Time Carnage but you will probably be playing them a lot longer.
If you haven’t got VR, Time Carnage on the Switch is an inexpensive way to play the game. But without VR, all of the best aspects of the user experience are all but sucked out of the game.
Being able to play co-op with one arm each can be a bit of fun, but there are a lot of other games out there for quick and fun co-op play. The solo game is fun for a stage or two, but the comparatively unnatural controls make this a fan game only.
Until next time,