Compared to other pinball games, Time Cruise's notable feature is its oversized playfield — the entire play area consists of seven screen-sized fields, arranged in a 3-by-3 grid. Shooting the pinball off the sides of one board would cause the screen to scroll horizontally and continue on the adjacent screen. Achieving certain goals will transfer the action to various minigames spanning various time eras, such as playing golf in prehistoric Earth or navigating a tilting maze in the distant future.
Unfortunately, the popularity of the Crush Pinball series overshadowed gamers' attention for Time Cruise, and the situation is not helped by its lackluster graphics and middling difficulty. Still, it has its fans — some are drawn to its uncomplicated pinball action, while others are drawn to its diverse collection of minigames.
Time Cruise demonstrates the following tropes:
- Cap: The game caps at 99,999,999 points.
- Excuse Plot: The instructions have a backstory about Eric, a scientific genius who has received instructions from telepathic aliens on how to implement Time Travel.
- Imported Alien Phlebotinum: The time machine, which was given by extraterrestrials.
- Minigame Game
- Mundane Utility: Apparently, one of the best things to do with a time machine is to travel across time to play golf on prehistoric Earth.
- No Ending: If you're expecting any sort of resolution about Eric, time travel, or the telepathic aliens, you'll be sorely disappointed.
- Our Time Machine Is Different: According to the Excuse Plot, the time machine consists of a system of seven buildings linked together with a high-speed spherical pod.
- Telepathic Spacemen: How the aliens communicate with Eric.
- Time Machine/Time Travel: The premise of the game.
- Uninstallment: The Japanese release was actually called Time Cruise II, as the original Time Cruise was a game in development but never released. The publisher, FACE, decided to skip the original and release only the sequel.