[Review] The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines – Nintendo Switch

Written by James Fairbanks
  • Developer: tinyDino Games
  • Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
  • Release Date: 13/08/2020
  • Price: £13.49 / $14.99
  • Review code provided by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

Video Review

Introducing The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines Switch Review

I don’t know about you guys, but stopping an unknown force from ending time is a great way to motivate me in video games.  You can have your evil overlords that take over countries, and your tech-tycoons because, yeah, they’re fun to take down.  But, you hand me a force I have to uncover so I can stop it from breaking time and ending the universe?  I’m all in, I’m ready to go, whatever the challenge, I’m up for it.  The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines wastes NO time in motivating me to complete its adventure and uncover whatever force is going to destroy time!

Don’t Break Time!

That can’t be good…

The story of The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines is pretty straightforward.  You joined a society of mages who protect time and it’s never ending progression forward.  Unfortunately, before your teacher can express how well your first day went, they just HAVE to marvel at the city in which the Mages of Time live.  Telling you how ‘as long as it’s standing, the world is protected’ and such.  You know if someone in any type of media starts gushing about how important a city is to the sanctity of their universe, it’s about to explode.

And it does.

Thus your adventure begins!

No One Messes With Time On My Watch!

Woo! Check out my Stabbin’ Stick!

The gameplay of The Ambassador is actually very intuitive.  It manages to be a twin-stick shooter and a top down adventure game.  You see, you aim your reticle with the right stick and throw your weapons with ZR.  Don’t worry though, because all the weapons in this game are made by Elder Mages, your weapon will return to you each time you throw it.  Even arrows from crossbow bolts return to you, strangely enough.

You can also switch weapons with L or R.  Your second weapon is a more powerful magic one.  Usually it involves some sort of projectile that doesn’t return, or can cause status effects like burning or freezing enemies.  Using this weapon will consume one dot of mana which will refill over time.  These weapons are also the only ones that can break boxes and barrels.  As you travel between each level in each area, you’ll find quite a few different weapons and armor types to alter your loadout to become the best Ambassador of Time you can.  Your loadout, by the way, can be altered with X. Oh, you can also heal yourself with Y as long as you have 2 meat.

But that’s not ALL the perks of protecting time!  You also get to stop time.  With ZL, a purple force field surrounds you and slows projectiles, enemies, and traps.  You will use this ability excessively as you pause enemies, dodge huge metal blocks, and attempt to get a few extra hits in on bosses.  It has a meter that appears over your head each time you use it that will refill over time.

Quick Note

Assisted: infinite life during boss battles
Standard: only 3 hearts for 8-9 levels
Naked mode: Only 1 heart for the whole game.

One thing I would like to commend this game for is the fact it could have been another roguelike.  The controls, the progression, the way unlockables are presented this game, it almost felt like it was intended to be a roguelike.  In fact, there is an option to start over at the first level of each area should you lose all your hearts.  I, not being the hardcore gamer you must think I am at this point, turned that option off in favor of respawning within the same level, should I lose all my hearts.  This meant boss battles were MUCH less frustrating because the battle would basically continue where I died and I could continue beating it with my seemingly infinite life.  This makes the game WAY more accessible to those who want a casual experience out of this game.  Absolutely commendable, more games should take notes from this and introduce options that let people actually COMPLETE their hard-core roguelike games.

Final Thoughts

This is my favorite weapon.

The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines is a twin-stick shooting adventure game that hits a few of my sweet spots such as: the story being about stopping an evil force from destroying time, boomerang weapons, barrels and rocks I can push to kill enemies, and most importantly: boomerang weapons.  Because Boomerang weapons.  It never tried to complicate it’s formula or ruin it by introducing new mechanics on the spot, every mechanic you’ll need is introduced right at the beginning.  Barring slight variations for each weapon you’ll acquire, this was a solid, fun, and extremely accessible game.  I recommend it if you have a free few hours, and are looking for a not-so-roguelike game with interesting control mechanics to try out!

Pros

  • Boomerang Weapons
  • Adjustable Difficulty
  • Music

Cons

  • Lore isn’t very interesting
  • Same audible gibberish sound byte used for every speech bubble
  • Can feel a bit like a bullet-hell at times

Verdict

A simple, fun game that is just the right amount of length and just the right amount of difficulty. A just fine game.

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