Time Surfer Review: Turns Tiny Wings Into A Chaotic Race Against Time
Bright, fast, chaotic; these are the three words that spring to mind every time I play Time Surfer, the endless gliding game from Kumobius. In it, you play the titular Time Surfer, trying to outrun the end of time. It’s a fun, frantic little game that never gets boring, though it can sometimes get confusing.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: the core of this gameplay is Tiny Wings, the charming little endless glider from last year. The same gentle hills, the same exact touch controls, the same shifting settings — it’s clearly borrowed. And if all Time Surfer did was reskin the minimalist joy of Tiny Wings, I’d have a serious problem with the game.
They didn’t. Instead, Kumobius basically took Tiny Wings, mated it with a retro platformer, and said “Let’s turn it up to 11!”
Sure, you’re soaring and diving in Time Surfer, trying to get high and fast and far. But you’re doing it while dodging obstacles and targeting power-ups and looking out for places where the ground beneath you goes away. The addition of items and objects to the Tiny Wings concept pretty much changes everything.
For one thing, you are not always in control of your surfer. Sometimes you’re bounced high and far by an exploding rock. Sometimes you’re stopped cold by an enemy alien right as you were building momentum. All the skill in the world won’t help you when a meteor suddenly appears from off-screen! For another, you’re no longer focused only on your momentum and timing. Now, you’re also looking out for things. A split attention can get you killed really quick.
Luckily, Time Surfer adds another twist to the mix: a Rewind button. For a certain amount of time each game, you can actually reverse play, hopefully to either avoid death or to grab an advantageous power-up. Your Rewind gauge burns quickly so you’ll want to save it for strategic moments, but it’s mere existence in the game makes this glider even more enjoyable. Luckily, gathering gems along your path refill the Rewind, so careful players can artfully make use of the do-over.
Truth be told, there are times in Time Surfer when things get a little hectic, when you lose track of what’s on screen, when you just have to rely on random chance. Luckily, these moments aren’t too bad, and they come less often as you learn to filter the game properly (“I can ignore that … I want to grab that … etc.”).
The other thing Time Surfer has that’s a lot of fun is cake. It’s not a lie in this game; instead, it’s the currency earned towards IAP. Yes, there’s purchasable cake, too, but it’s not intrusive, and most of the things cake buys you are fun and not necessary. [Except pets. They are not fun and drain your cake.] You can buy new skins, new vehicles (basically skins), and even “flair” to add to your experience. Cake can be had in-game, and also by completing mini missions like “Travel 1,000 ft. in one game” or “Earn three time bonuses”.
Finally, there’s the bright, retro presentation of Time Surfer. It’s got great retro graphics look to it, full of bright and neon colors, and the game-ending glow that chases you really bleeds into the screen in a way that signifies that, yes, you’re about to die. The jaunty chipset-inspired music is likewise retro and fun.
All in all, Time Surfer is a great casual game. Anyone who loved Tiny Wings should definitely have some fun with it, and in fact anyone who likes a good pocket-sized timewaster should enjoy it.
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5.