For the last few days, I’ve been living in a gangsta’s paradise and playing Timothy vs the Aliens from indie developer Wild Sphere. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me fill you in. Timothy vs the Aliens is an action platformer that takes place in an early to mid-twentieth century city that is controlled by gangsters. Not the kind Coolio was talking about, but the ones that listen to jazz and wear nice suits, cock their trilby’s just right and carry Tommy guns. You play as Timothy, a local gangster whose meteoric rise up the gangster ranks was facilitated by a chance meeting with some aliens. It’s as weird as it sounds.
In this meeting, the aliens give Timothy a deck of cards that allow him to move and think in some kind of hyper-speed. The game denotes this skill by slowing time with the trusty “bullet time” mechanic. They also warn him of an incoming alien invasion and world domination, but Timothy was distracted by his own new powers to pay this much attention. Alas, it’s time for Tim to get woke. The invasion is underway and his city is crawling with aliens.
First of all, the game looks awesome. The artwork, the color palette, the contrast between everything human being the black-and-white of a Cary Grant movie and everything alien being bright and colorful. Toss in the jazzy soundtrack, and it all really works for me.
Timothy vs the Aliens is an action platformer, which begs the question, how are the controls? Are they as tight as a stack of freshly stolen twenties? Or are they as loose as a good (bad) gangster’s moral fiber? Like most things in life and gaming, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. The short answer is the controls feel pretty good. Little Tim jumps when I want him to, and he sprints and turns, while not on a dime, but good enough to get the job done.
The shooting feels pretty good too. You start out with a revolver with unlimited ammo. You eventually unlock other weapons, like the aforementioned Thompson machine gun. The biggest problem with Timothy vs the Aliens is that while the platforming and shooting are okay, they are both simple and grow extremely repetitive very quickly. The platforming aspect is especially reminiscent of platformers from two console generations past. Or more. And the enemies get boring fast. With Only four different alien types plus a big boss, annoyance soon became the most common emotion I felt playing.
Also, the game is short, less than four hours to complete although there were plenty of collectibles I still haven’t found. It feels like a game that would appeal to younger gamers, as it’s on the easy side and short. This, unfortunately, is where the awesome aesthetic seems like a bad choice. I don’t think kids are going to appreciate any of it. I mean, the jazz, the black and white, the noir—not exactly kid’s stuff.
There is fun to be had here, especially if you like platformers, and I absolutely loved the way it looked. In the end, there are some things to like here, but I wanted more.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.