REVIEW : The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines (PC)
The latest indie title to be released by the publisher with the weirdest name in the business, The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, the same company behind the recent Roundguard and #Funtime, is The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines. One would expect for a game with such title to be something epic and majestic, but sadly that isn’t the case. This is just another sad case of a very forgettable game with very little to offer in its favour, even though it’s not particularly bad.
The Ambassador is a run-of-the-mill twin-stick shooter. Just as you would expect from a game like this, you run around small arenas with the sole objective of killing everyone in sight to proceed to the next area. Like most games of the genre, there’s always a gimmick or two to make the game differ itself from the competition, whether it’s the theme or a little twist in its gameplay. In The Ambassador‘s case, its main selling point is the possibility to manipulate time. Well, sort of.
You don’t have full control over time. You can’t rewind time and correct a previous mistake, for instance. All you can do is briefly stop time around you, freeze enemies and projectiles, and switches while your time manipulation meter lasts. You can use that to extend the otherwise small amount of time enemies give you to attack them once they let their guard down. You can cast a small shield to protect you from incoming arrows, allowing you to destroy otherwise impenetrable rocks. As well as extend the number of time a gate will remain open after pressing a switch, and so on. It may sound like this gimmick turns The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines into an interesting action game, but honestly, that’s almost everything this game has to offer, and it’s very skin deep.
This time manipulation gimmick is exactly that, a gimmick. As for the rest, The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines is just a very simplistic endurance shooter. You have a limited number of hearts, although you can restore them by eating meat, as well as two weapon slots. One is a non-magical ranged weapon, like a sword that can be thrown like a boomerang, and a magical staff that consumes mana once used. There’s not a lot of strategies involved besides using time mechanics as small protective barriers, as well as running away from an enemy to leave them open for an attack. Just kill everyone until you eventually fight a boss and go back to the main hub.
The Ambassador doesn’t manage to impress with its visuals and sound department either. It doesn’t feature particularly pleasing pixel art visuals with repetitive environments and some ugly character sprites. It looks even worse if you decide to play it on full-screen mode. To add insult to injury, it only runs at a locked 30fps, even though it could easily run at twice the framerate. This would improve the overall pacing and the accuracy of your aiming. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable, as well as its sound effects.