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Time [Love - Ed]

Profilic, ever-entertaining indie madperson Edmund McMillen's latest free game is live, this time a collaboration with one William Good. Paradoxical puzzler Time Fcuk (c'mon, you know full well how it's supposed to be spelt) will do damage to your mind, but it will also impress it enormously.

I'll confess now I haven't yet been able to put quite as much time into as I'd like, because I've spent today being prodded by doctors and being roundly beaten by RPS's roving reporter Quinns at Space Hulk, but I've seen enough to confidently utter the noises "oooh" and "eh?" There's been an occasional "ah!" when I solve one of its devious puzzles, too.

It's a time-bending game, a theme that has lately proven so beloved of several indie developers. The difference here is that fcuking with time doesn't affect your character directly, but rather switches the level you're currently in with another room - an alternate dimension version of it. By switching between dimensions at the right times and in the right places, and by dragging certain objects with you, you create a path to the exit.

That's the challenge element of it, and it quickly becomes complex, rewarding and terrifying. On top of the game's own levels, there's an editor for folk to create their own, and also a random game generator that creates a campaign by stringing together an assortment of usermade levels. Which means this, in effect, an infinite game. The kind of stuff that's going to be coming out of the community in a few months - presuming Time Fcuk picks up an audience, which it most certainly deserves to - could be extraordinary.

But the real fun is the narrator(s). It's you (or so at least it claims). Sometimes it's you from the future. Sometimes it's you from the distant future. Sometimes it's you from the past, commenting on the level you just played. And it keeps talking about someone called Stephen. There are constant, unhinged, happy, tragic, perplexing missives from alterna-yous (with upsettingly poor grammar, alas, but clearly I don't know if that's deliberate/ironic or something), hinting at some great mystery, either arranged by a sinister external manipulator or something that's happening inside your head.

It reminds me of Portal, as I guess is the nod that has to be given to any reality-distortion puzzle game featuring a creepy conversationalist. It reminds me of the Cube films. And it reminds me of BBC Micro games, visually at least.

I will play more, rest assured. But you should go and play it right now. It's free, but nonetheless it earns deserved revenue for its creators via Newgrounds ads - a portion of which will go to the sterling charity Child's Play. A clever free game that's also for a good cause? I can't think of anything more hateful, frankly. No, wait, that was evil alterna-me from another dimension saying that! This-universe Me thinks Time Fcuk is great! And Me from universe #1141 enjoys eating squirrels, but that's another story.

Oh, and here's a trailer. TRAILER FCUK.

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