Time Fcuk (PC/web/Flash)

Time Fcuk 1Time Fcuk, aka Time Cufk, aka Time Kucf, aka etcetera, is a Flash game that originally came out last September on Newgrounds. It’s creators are Edmund McMillen (author – also behind indie titles like Super Meat Boy, Gish and many more), William Good (programmer – has worked on a number of other games I’m not familiar with) and Justin Karpal (behind the game’s excellent music, which is cyclic and triumphal and claustrophobic all at once) so it’s something that the indie gaming scene probably picked up on really quickly. My loss circa 2009, I guess!

It’s free to play and is well worth half an hour or more of your time. The basic gist in terms of mechanics are that it’s a dimension-switching platformer – levels have between two and four planes that you can flick between – where the user must puzzle their way out of each room. The controls are limited to left, right, jump, pick up (blocks) and switch dimension. The game starts out simple and gets fiendish quickly with gravity alteration, objects that can be moved between dimensions if in contact with the player avatar, traps and the inevitability of death if the player switches into a dimension where an object shares the same area as they do. The mechanics are dead simple and it’s easy to pick the game up but beating some of the puzzles are challenging – though rarely frustrating, except where stupid player mistakes are concerned.

Time Fcuk 2I’ve already mentioned the music and the same positive things can be said of the game’s limited sound effects. It’s the visual style that’s really eye-catching though. The player’s avatar is a simple silhouette, albeit one which gradually alters as they progress through the storyline (more on that in a minute), and each dimensional plane uses a unique colour to differentiate it from the last. Most objects appear as simple, easily recognisable silhouettes – and objects about to appear in the next plane switch appear fainter so you know what’s coming. The right hand side of the screen, though, is taken up by two things. Firstly there’s a small map of the network of rooms – it’s a rectangle. The route is, essentially, cyclic. Below that there’s a screen with a sinister talking head which shares text messages with you, purporting to be you from a few rooms ahead, or sometimes a few rooms behind.

This is where the game excels. The writing is genuinely funny and faintly paranoid; there’s a palpable sense of mystery as you progress further and… something starts growing on your head. Is it talking to you? What is it? And why the hell did you climb into this box in the firest place? The story, such as it is, never intrudes into the core gameplay except in benign ways, and players can ignore it if they wish, though it’d be their loss as it’s half the demented charm of the game.

Play Time Fcuk yourself to experience it firsthand; suffice to say that it’s delightful.

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  1. […] behind her mask. Another browser-based platformer, Time Fcuk, which I wrote about in pre-AR days here, features a narrator who seems to be a half-crazed lunatic but later turns out to be, well, […]