I’ll be the first to admit it – I’m totally garbage at old school shooters. While I’ve always enjoyed them, I’ve never really felt like the badass I should when playing games like Contra, Metal Slug, or even this years Mercenary Kings.

Until I played the Xbox One exclusive Super Time Force. Super Time Force takes the fast-paced, over-the-top action that I love from those old side-scrolling action games and gives it a beautiful new twist. The story is fun and whimsical, focusing around a team of time travellers who are attempting to prevent all the terrible events that have plagued humanity since the invention of time travel. Each mission must be completed in a set short amount of time, that is seemingly impossible to finish without support of some kind. That’s where Super Time Force’s unique gameplay mechanic, called “Time-Out” comes into play.

“Time-Outs” let you rewind time whenever you are killed, or run out of time, and allows you to return to any moment of your play through, or even jump all the way back to the beginning of a level. You’re then allowed to select a new character, or the one you were just playing with, and hop back into the game, with the ghost of your previous life repeating what they had just done. Now you have two characters running through the level, and you can even prevent the previous life from getting killed, allowing you to progress further, and faster. After dying a number of times you’ll soon have a screen full of characters running around and causing havoc. This gets especially insane during boss battles, as you’ll need to wear down enough of their life, or hit enough points on their body during 30-60 seconds, that you end up with atleast a dozen of your characters on screen at one time.

Along the way of replaying parts of the level, you’ll gain access to shards, which slow down time to allow you to move faster than the clock, as well as extra “lives” to generate additional “Time-Outs”, although I must admit I never ran out of the 30 provided during my playthrough. While I would love more missions, the flavor and style of the game made for a brilliant distraction.Each zone has it’s own theme, whether is a post-apocalyptic Philadelphia, or a Mad Max style Thunderdome, complete with Max and his dog inadvertently being crushed by our heroes ship. The unique mechanic of Super Time Force made this type of game that much more fun than any other action game like this, making me fall in love with it as I blitzed through it’s relatively short campaign.

For me, everything comes together with this game. Beautiful pixel art, retro music, slick controls and sincerely good humor. A force to be reckoned with.