Time Travelling Sideways: Zeit²

Orbs are having a gaming highpoint, it seems.

I think the Cursor*10-inspired single player co-op is an idea with legs. Of course Flashbang recently proved this with the lovely Time Donkey, and next year will see a slick looking side-scrolling shooter, Zeit² from Brightside Games, play with the idea some more. With the ability to rewind time you can help yourself out as you approach trickier parts of the level. There’s a trailer below.

Zeit² was a finalist for the Student Showcase award at 2009’s IGF, which is always a good sign. The concept: side-scrolling shooter with time travel. It’s less clear exactly what the fast-forwarding does at this point – it would seem rarely a good idea to speed time up when fighting a constant assault of enemies from the right, but that shall likely become more clear as more details are revealed. In the meantime, the rewind to support yourself mechanic is one that fits in perfectly to a sideways schmup and could add an intriguing new level of skill. See what you think:


  1. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Such time manipulation has been done, of course, but what’s more important to me is whether it’s impemented so that it’s not a gimmick but more an addition to the player’s arsenal. Time manipulation of this variety doesn’t really change the genre of the game, so if it feels tacked on it’s bad, but if it feels like it belongs I’m okay with it. Not more than that, because it seems unlikely to radically change the basic gameplay of the shooter.

    Oh, and it looks nice.

  2. Bhazor says:

    I’m exactly the kind of maniac who plays bullet shmups for fun. So the actual gameplay looked a bit easy especially with a rewind time button. Still if it’s as well designed as the Gradius games this could be something great. That’s a big if though.

  3. RobF says:

    From the video it seems to suffer from “enemies just moving left” syndrome. I saw one jutting across the screen but nothing that looked like enough to give me the shooty horn.

    Very pretty but looks remarkably dull given no (visible) interesting wave structures, essentially.

  4. Okami says:

    Let’s not forget Kloonigames’ choke on my groundhog you bastard robots, which featured this mechanic before Cursor*10. It also has one of the most brilliant names in video game history.

  5. Gotem says:

    I remember another game where you had to ‘catch back’ your bullets as you went back in time, but was really more a rythm game than a shooter. can’t recall the name.

  6. Railick says:

    I could see this mechanic being interseting if it is required to beat the game. As in if you didn't use it it would be almost impossible to win sort of deal, otherwise it is like having rewind in a racing game ;P

  7. Thomas says:

    Hey, I am the designer of zeit². Since there were a lot of the same questions regarding the time manipulation being part of the actual gameplay i can give you a definite heads up.

    To answer some of your questions

    – Only like the first two levels of arcade mode you can survive without using the time travel.
    – Its not just rewinding time. You can’t undo things by rewinding. There is a copy of you that performs all the actions you did before rewinding. The main idea is to support yourself like in cursor 10 as the author of this article figured out exactly right.
    For example you shoot enemies at the top and at the bottom they escaped. Just rewind and get the ones at the bottom as well. Another example is to shoot at your own “past self” to cause a multi shot. There are a lot of things you can do with time travel :-)
    – There is even a wave mode were set patterns of enemy constellations approach you. As soon as an enemy reaches the left side you loose, what makes surviving even trickier. You get bonuses depending on how far right you get an enemy. In that mode you lose within seconds if you don’t use time travel.
    – time travel future or fast forwarding has a simple prinziple attachted to it. As soon as you fast forward all your points are doubled. So its completly optional but good for scoring high.
    – rewinding and fast forward come very natural after you get the idea of it.

    Ok don’t wanna spam this here just to give you guys some more of an idea. The beauty of interactive games is that you have to experience them and seeing a video just can’T make up for it :-) Its funny I see a lot of ppl speculating also on other sites.

    Feel free to email if you have further questions.

    best Thomas

  8. Hypocee says:

    1. I bet fast-forwarding at minimum gives you a big score boost.

    2 Contrast: Hell Is Other People, where your own ghost is often your greatest threat.

  9. Hypocee says:

    Argh, Firefox cached copy with only two comments ahoy. Beg pardon for the obliviosity.

  10. zach says:

    Text like “1 minutes” this is a pet peeve for me.

    Just saying. Other than that, it looks quite interesting (<– what a cliché)