At first glance, Super Time Force looks like a Metal Slug/Contra type of game: a 2D side-scroller in the run'n'gun vein.
While the aspect is similar, the gameplay is in fact very different, for better or worse.
The special feature of Super Time Force is to rewind time in the level while the previous occurrence of the player will do the same exact action. The player spawns with a new/same character, at an earlier point of time in the level, and exists alongside his past selves.
It is then possible to prevent the death of previous characters to pick them up for bonus combo attacks, or to be multiple characters shooting at the same target to gain time in destroying something, as there is a time limit to finish the level (which is very generous with all the bonus pick-ups to increase the time on the clock).
At the end of a mission, a replay allows to see an army of the player storming through the level and wreaking complete chaos.
This time feature is particularly well done and makes the game really really fun, as the players create their own challenges and time puzzles.
There is quite some variety in the level design and the atmosphere of the different levels (dinosaurs, post-apo, medieval, futuristic, etc), so it keeps feeling fresh and interesting.
The problem is that the gameplay itself is not exactly the best. Unlike for instance Broforce, most characters can shoot in diagonals and up or down. This sounds like a good idea of course, but it is badly implemented. Games where you move and shoot independently do the twin-stick formula. On PC, it would mean moving and jumping on WASD and using the mouse to aim and shoot. But no, they went with the same stick/WASD both for aiming and moving, which removes a lot on the precise possibilities of navigating through opponents while disposing of the enemies that are on a different plane than the player, and a LOT of enemies are on a different plane instead of just facing the player. The placement of the enemies is good, don't get me wrong. It just feels imprecise and approximate. Thankfully the game is reactive and not clunky, but really I wish the moving and aiming was better implemented to reflect the complexity of the game. The developers came up with buttons to lock the player from moving or to keep aiming in a specific direction, which seems like a weird patch-up instead of just using the mouse/another stick to aim. Especially on PC!
There are tons of characters to unlock, even if the main first ones are often the most suited. They different abilities are great and complement each other, it is really fun to use them and to think about which is best for which situation.
The story is simple, fun and silly, and the graphics are.... Well, it's a matter of taste, but from the developers of Sword and Sworcery I expected better. Everything in Super Time Force is very minimalistic and cubical, even a lot of effects. I did not really like the art style despite liking the variety in the environments and missions.
As a conclusion, this is a game with a great novel game mechanic that is fully mastered, and just in addition to the fun of shooting with interesting and different characters, it is worth playing it. The downside are the controls, having movement and aiming on the same keys does not suit a game with so many actions and it makes it feel imprecise and approximate. Movements/jump on WASD and aiming on the mouse would have felt so much better!