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All Hail the Time Baby

  • Frogge
  • 02/02/2019 11:43 AM

Just in Time (Canon version) by Lavendersiren and Deaflopist
Length: ~40 minutes

I might be a bit late on playing all the swapsies games. Yeah, that's it, no buts. I'm a bit late on playing all the swapsies games. But better late than never, I suppose, and this here was one of the few Lav's been asking me to review since its release, so I suppose I owe it to her to finally give it a spin. This game is a side story to Sethstuck, as far as I'm aware. I've never played Sethstuck, so definetly don't expect me to know any of the lore. The game is nice enough to give you an idea of what you're getting into and summarizes a few things nicely with the intro, but even so, it does feel weird to me that Lav chose to make a game from an established universe with a canon for the swapsies event instead of an original story. I guess I can't really hold it against her, especially considering I was probably the biggest asshole of swapsies for giving Liberty a three hour long first half to work with.

And so begins Super Metro- I mean Just in Time. I meant Just in Time.

Just in Time's story is fairly simple. You play Seth after he visits a planet, gets knocked up and tied up in bondage, saved by a time travelling dude named Justin Time (see what they did there?), forcing the two to team up to escape. While the story isn't anything spectacular, I also didn't really have any issues with it. The dialogue is pretty decent, and while Seth's constant swearing makes him kind of annoying (Lav's already mentioned that's meant to be an intended character trait, but sheesh, even I don't drop F bombs this much with my characters), I still enjoyed their exchanges a lot. Justin giving the game's bad guy a nickname and him liking the nickname and actually using it is probably my favorite gag.

One thing I have to praise here is how well Deaflopist managed to match Lav, and I say this because I legitimately cannot tell where the swap happened. I would assume maybe after the gargoyle boss, but I really don't know. Maybe it's just becuase I played the canon version that maybe had a lot of updates by lav, but Just in Time still felt like a match made in heaven for both developers.

Visually, while there's some really cool things here, I still would have liked to see a bit more of lav's trademark surrealism. The are with the blue tubes is really pretty, but sadly a lot of other parts of the game don't quite hold up. There aren't any particularly bad looking bits (except maybe the ugly red tint during the final scene, coupled with completely non sensical and overly bright light ray overlay) but I still feel the game had the potential to look better too. I also have to give praise to the intro, though, as lav has some really good and creative use of animation in it.

The maps are decent enough too, but it's not uncommon to come across some with much more empty space than necessarily needed. The dungeon design was probably the bigger problem here, as the areas are filled with useless dead ends and weird, winding hallways all across. You'll likely find yourself running into a room only to find out there's nothing there a couple times.

Seth's definetly had a few rough nights at the bar in the past.

The gameplay's nothing outstanding either, but I also did not ever find myself getting needlessly frustrated at the battles. They're actually real easy for the most part, and there was only one troop in the entire game that gave me some trouble, but even then I managed to beat them pretty easy without dying. The only times I died, in fact, were probably to the lake monster and final boss, once each. One super cute detail here is how most of your skills are actually time based, and the devs did a great job of matching the theme with them, with some clever workarounds in the writing. There's a skill that simply drops enemies' agilities, but the fact that it's called "slow down" is a really creative use of it. There's a few really minor things regarding gameplay that I wasn't a fan of. For one, you can't F12 your way back to the menu quickly, instead F12 just pauses the game. As someone who uses F12 a lot, this annoyed me a bit. There's also Justin, who follows you around on the map. This can actually cause a game breaking bug, but even without that issue, it's kind of annoying to constantly have him blocking the path where I'm trying to go. You can push him around if he's blocking your way, but it's still annoying to lose momentum just because he stepped in front of me. Unlike most XP games, you can actually run by holding down spacebar, which may sound a bit weird if you're used to shift from other rpg maker hames, but I had no trouble getting used to this. I do appreciate the inclusion of the ability to run greatly, as backtracking in this game could have easily been really tedious. Anyway, as for the game breaking bug, it actually happens when you save the game, exit, and load it back up. Alex will appear right on top of you, but another Alex will also follow you around on the map. The Alex that follows you can still be pushed, but the other Alex cannot, so if you save and load the game in a one tile wide passage, there's a good chance you might get stuck. I did, in the image below, and had to go into the game files to make the passage wider in order to pass through.

You can almost hear Seth screaming in agony from having to deal with not one, but two Justins.

Just in Time is a great combined effort from both Lav and Deaflopist with a lot of positives, but I wouldn't particularly call it an outstanding game either. It's entertaining to play, but it kind of lacks something that would make it special. I think I actually enjoyed lav's other game from the event, The Vindicators, a whole lot more, because that game had a really unique identity to it, and the bizarre nature of it definetly shined through a whole lot more than it does in Just in Time. I don't think I've played Deaflopist's other game, but seeing how well he did with continuing lav's story, I might consider giving it a go too.

All in all, I give it three and a half temporal rifts out of five.

Bitch so are the rest of us, suck it up.


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Thank you for playing our game. I'm glad you played the canon version since the event version had way more bugs in it. I vaguely remember trying to fix the dupe bug by pausing but it's been a while. I had no idea that anyone used the usually broken F12 key.
Regardless, I'm glad you enjoyed what we brought to the table.
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