Good things take time, and the lush sprite art in Lunar Ray's just-released Metroidvania Timespinner clearly took a while to make. Even when it was Kickstarted four years ago, Timespinner looked striking, and the extra time in development has only done it good.
Looking a lot like genre grandpappy Castlevania: Symphony of The Night (just check those powerful walk animations), it tells the story of a young woman travelling back in time to avenge her family by destroying an empire. While mechanically familiar, this one absolutely captures the look of the SNES era's best, with a PSX-era soundtrack. Below, the launch trailer.
Timespinner presses a lot of nostalgic buttons for me. The sprites look like they're out of a late-generation European-made Super Nintendo game, but have a slightly Amiga-looking colour palette to them. The music reminds me of several PlayStation hits as well, especially in its use of synth orchestral instruments. Even the inventory menus are reminiscent of Symphony Of The Night. It has some ideas of its own, though - there's the power to freeze time (and use enemies as platforms), plus the option for a second player to directly control the protagonist's NPC Familiar.
The initial wave of reviews are in for Timespinner, and they're heavy with praise so far - lots of nice high scores from some larger sites. From the sounds of it, the game capitalises well on its Symphony Of The Night inspirations, but cultivates a feel of its own. Unlike SoTN, you don't get a vast arsenal of weapons to use, but the protagonist's magic orbs look satisfying to use, from the chunk I've seen streamed on Twitch. As with SoTN, there's always the option to get in close and just mash attack to hammer a cloud of HP numbers out of monsters, which is always fun.
This one is absolutely on my weekend to-play list, if I can find the time on top of the other twenty or so things launching this week. Makes me wish I could pause time, too.