I haven’t had this much fun on my Vita in a long TIME! (Buh dum tsh! Nailed it!)
There I am, all fifteen of me, in the form of a machine gun wielding dolphin, a dinosaur riding a skateboard, Sir Galahad from The Order: 1886, the mythological Merlin, a post apocalyptic, Mad Max stylised Cleopatra, a being literally made of feces, and a whole cavalcade of other truly hilarious characters. In the universe of Super Time Force Ultra (STFU from here on out) it all makes total sense.
Capybara Games completely outdid themselves with STFU. It plays like a fairly straightforward platformer shooter, akin to Metal Slug, but with some innovations that I have never experienced before. Parts of the gameplay are incredibly unique and an utter blast to experience, and while the story and graphics are charming, the humor of this game is out-and-out bar none; I was laughing all the way through. The sense of humor cannot be easily described, as it oscillates constantly between “gross-out” jokes, 1980s pop culture references (my personal favorite) and absurd Adventure Time-esque comedic moments. There are also tons of things to do in STFU: between the enormous cast of characters to unlock, scores of challenge stages, collectibles and an intense “hardcore” mode.
Other than the humor, the central gimmick of STFU is the time traveling; both in the plot and in the gameplay. The game employs a sort of “micro time-travel” that allows you to rewind time on a whim, which is necessary as most stages only allow sixty seconds to complete them. When the player rewinds, their past life(s) is/are playing in the background, killing the same enemies and dying in the same way that they died originally, an effect that stacks dozens of times, allowing for a completely unique “single-player co-op” experience.
The variety of stage design and setting is wildly diverse. STFU is part of the onslaught of retro styled 8-bit games in recent years, but unlike countless others that use their simplicity as a cane, the graphics of this game suit it perfectly. With all of the neon-drenched, 1980s infused glory of STFU, the old school visuals were a great aesthetic choice.
The stages and regions that you play through are vastly distinct from each other, varying from desolate cities, to deserts, to the mythical city of Atlantis and even to a dinosaur-ridden, prehistoric forest.
The negatives of STFU are far and few between. Perhaps the only truly valid gripe that I had playing it was how bogged down my Vita would get in the last stretches of most stages. After I got to around twelve or thirteen rewinds, my system would get very slow and laggy as it struggled to keep up with how many characters were on the screen at once. The last boss fight was an absolute mess for me, because of this very reason. It requires around fifteen to twenty productive rewinds in order to defeat the boss in the time limit, which pushed my Vita’s processing quite a bit. I also felt that STFU had very occasional difficulty spikes that could result in a waste of five or six rewinds back to back. Only some stages had said difficulty spikes, and it typically worked to just swap characters to someone who could handle the situation better, (Pro Tip: the grenade launcher weapon solves most problems. It is insanely effective if you can land the ‘nades.)
After completing STFU, I just wanted to reset it and play through it again. I went into it expecting little more than a rudimentary platformer shooter, and I was so happy to be wrong. Between the outlandish characters, gorgeous set design, completely off-the-wall humor and unique time travel mechanics, this game is a must-play. I have never played anything quite like Super Time Force Ultra, which is great; it makes it feel like more of a rare gem. I had not heard of Capybara Games prior to playing Super Time Force Ultra, but they impressed me so much, that I cannot wait to dive into the rest of their library.