PN Review: Arrow Time U
Arrow Time U joins a small handful of recent Wii U games that have released in spite of unsuccessful crowd funding. I give XenoHorizon kudos for seeing the game through to completion. I further appreciate that the Wii U is the “priority” for this new studio, founded earlier this very year. That said, their début title is not without its share of growing pains.
In Arrow Time U you take control of an arrow and try (rapidly!) to find your way to the exit while navigating through mazelike environments. You have limited means to slow down time and pass through objects to overcome obstacles. The puzzles are varied, challenging, and offer some satisfaction as each stage is completed. There’s a degree of non linearity in the design also, as you can skip some stages that are proving too difficult. There’s also cool boss encounters. It’s selling for the low price of just $1.99.
When I mentioned the need to “rapidly” find the exit, this is no understatement. Arrow Time U reminds me in a sense of WarioWare microgames. The time limits are obscenely strict! I wanted to explore and experiment in each level, but that’s something the game forbids. For a strategy game, Arrow Time U allows surprisingly little time to form strategies. Based on comments I’ve seen on Miiverse, many are finding the time restrictions more frustrating than challenging, especially as the timer also shares the same bar as your health!
There is some good news however. XenoHorizons have responded to their audience, and are working on an update patch. Increasing the times on certain levels and being “more lenient with times in general to promote more exploration” are among the upcoming changes. There’ll also be tweaks to the audio to make it less shrill, and some other adjustments and polish to improve and make the game a more quality title.
To be fair, this current setup does give the game difficulty. Once you stumble upon each stage’s trick though, it becomes quite easy. At just 40 levels, how much replay does Arrow Time U presently offer? Not much, though for the price you should adjust expectations accordingly. Still, the present challenge would definitely benefit from a more balanced approach.
I do very much enjoy small indie efforts on the Wii U eShop, and am looking forward to XenoHorizon’s updates for Arrow Time U. Even though the game doesn’t give me much reason to return to it at the moment, I can still appreciate what it was trying to do. Some creativity is definitely evident with its puzzles, and certain levels were enjoyable. True, it wasn’t really our type of game (the PN staff who played it), but it doesn’t mean it won’t be for someone else. For just $1.99 you’ve little to lose if you decide to take a chance on this game, missteps and all. At the very least you’ll be showing some love for new indie developers who want to bring more content exclusively to Nintendo hardware.