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A Puzzle Platformer That "Cuffs" with Your Mind - Time Fcuk Review
Video game designer Edmund McMillen has become known over the years for developing strange, thought-provoking indie games. Working primarily with Flash, McMillen uses the medium to its fullest potential and manages to create intense storytelling, engaging gameplay, and deep meanings within his games. Time Fcuk (pronounced “cuff") is one such game, and it is so addictive in its gameplay and enthralling in its premise that it’s hard to stay away from.
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Time Fcuk Premise
The story in Time Fcuk revolves primarily around the element of time. Having said that, that’s about the only thing that’s ever made clear. The rest of this tale is left for you, the gamer, to figure out and determine. Time Fcuk is about one’s perception; it’s about one’s thought process; Time Fcuk is about the element of time, but it is about how you perceive time. You can let this game’s story create tons of different meanings for you, or you can decide on one definite reality.
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Time Fcuk Gameplay
At its core, Time Fcuk is a platformer with puzzles strewn across each stage. Each of the game’s levels takes place on a single screen, and you must push blocks, jump across a myriad of platforms, and change dimensions to reach each stage’s exit.
Shifting dimensions is something you’ll do a lot of in Time Fcuk. Most levels have faded out backgrounds, and switching dimensions places you in these backgrounds. This is key to surviving each level and solving the many puzzles in the game. It won’t take long before you’re switching dimensions at a dizzying pace and transferring items from one dimension to the other.
Another pivotal gameplay element is your character. While you guide him through each stage of the game, you’ll get text-based messages on the side of the screen. These messages are directed toward your character, but they also come from your character at another point in time. In other words, your character’s future and past selves actively communicate with your character’s present self as you play. Strange indeed, and this only serves to make the game even more psychologically engaging.
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Graphics and Sound
Time Fcuk has a very clean look, and its polished visuals are right on par with the Flash technology McMillen has become so comfortable using. Each stage features a limited color palette, so one moment you’ll be in a room with reds and dark reds, only to exit into a room with blues and dark blues. It’s a simple color scheme, but one that works very well for the game.
As you progress through Time Fcuk, you hear the same theme slowly changing. There’s really only one track in this game, but as you get closer to the end, and as your character becomes more psychologically attached to time, the entire theme begins to sound more hectic, more desperate, and more disturbing.
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Time Fcuk is a fairly long-lasting experience for a Flash-based indie game. You’ll spend a number of hours playing through the game, but you may feel compelled to go back and play through some of the levels again. Additionally, Time Fcuk sports a nice level editor that’s full of different tools to create your very own stages. Literally everything from the main game is at your disposal, and it’s very easy to spend countless hours creating your very own levels as well as playing user-created stages.
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Time Fcuk Overall Score
Time Fcuk is a very unique puzzle game. On the one hand, it features fun puzzles in every one of its stages. On the other hand, the game’s premise itself is a puzzle. It’s hard not to be psyched out when playing Time Fcuk, both for its subject matter and its strange main character. Don’t be surprised if you feel a bit uneasy when your character’s alternate self says something like, “The key to life is remembering you will eventually die. I wish I was dead..."
Edmund McMillen has created something truly special here. Time Fcuk is not only an amazingly fun game, it’s one of the most psychologically engaging experiences in recent video game history.