We’re old hands at the horizontal space shooter game, raised on a diet of games like R-Type and Parodius. Our finely honed twitch reflexes have served us well, but had to learn to think on more levels to master Zeit 2 and its interesting time travel twist on the shooter.
The glowing ambient world of Zeit 2 is never quite explained, but your ‘ship’ is surrounded by circular glowing globe looking much like a cell with an outer membrane. That membrane shrinks every time you’re hit and with every shot you fire, and when it’s gone you die. It’s only replenished by killing enemies, tasking you with balancing attacks with health.
Adding a further dimension are certain enemies covered with a blue glow similar to yours, and everyone that slips past siphons a portion of your health as they go. Unlike other shooters, where skilfully dodging hordes of enemies and their attacks will safely see you through, Zeit 2 demands nearly all your enemies die – if they don’t, you slowly but surely will.
With the sheer volume of things being chucked at you, this would normally be impossible, but Zeit employs a rather clever time mechanic, as you’re able to rewind time up to 4.2 seconds into the past. That allows several things. Firstly, you’re better able to dodge enemies, but it effectively also lets you be in two places at once because the black shadow of your past self continues to fire.
Your ‘time shadow’ also acts like a weapons booster if you get it in front of you and can fire into it, amping up your shots and spreading fire. It’s also crucial to defend yourself, as there are some enemies that exist ‘phased out of time space’ and only by rewinding time can your shots actually hit them.
Zeit 2 quickly becomes a frantic dance, as you manage your health and fire rate (it forces you to become incredibly accurate when shooting costs health) dodge enemies, and rewind time to kill them on both planes. With online leaderboards you’ll want to build a massive score multiplier but Zeit 2 forces you to decide whether you’ll sacrifice health taking out non-glowing enemies for points or just try to survive.
Luckily you aren’t forced to rely merely upon your reflexes and, Zeit 2 arms your ship with six upgrades that affect your ship’s weapons in various ways, including a very handy, and powerful Beam Shot special attack that fires a huge enemy-destroying laser. Like your regular attacks, these specials can be amplified by firing them into your time shadow,
Doing that with the beam shot for example sends the rays in a screen-clearing shapes that can be a real life saver. And it isn’t just the endless waves of various types of enemies you face; you also battle some impressive-looking and inventive bosses, huge Catherine wheels of destructive power that throw energy and minions at you like they’re going out of fashion.
While Zeit 2 isn’t perfect, and like many other shooters online is weighted to a score attack mentality that isn’t for all, what it does it does very well, and the twist of the time travel function makes it very interesting.