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Video Game / Timespinner

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Travel back in time to change fate itself.
Timespinner is a Metroidvania game developed by Lunar Ray Games and published by Chucklefish, released on Steam, GOG, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita on September 25, 2018.

The premise has a girl named Lunais who has just been made a Time Messenger just when the interstellar empire of Lachiem invades her home and kills her family. Determined to take them down, Lunais travels between the past and the present to destroy Lachiem and avenge her family. Timespinner draws inspiration from platforming action-adventure games from the 1990's as well as various Metroidvania titles, particularly from the Nintendo DS era of Castlevania titles such as Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, while featuring a visual presentation of highly-detailed sprites similar to that of the Super Nintendo with high-quality music of the PlayStation. Throughout Lunais' journey, she obtain various orbs that can grant her weapons and magical attacks she can perform, pick up unique relics that can enhance her exploration abilities, and encounter many allies as well as enemies along the way as she travels between time to set things right.

The game originally started out life as a student project by former Bungie member Bodie Lee, which ranked highest among his class at Western Washington University, where he then decided to develop Timespinner into a full-fledged game. Bodie continued to work on the game's development over the course of 5 years during his free time while working in the video game industry until December 2013 where he decided to work on the game's development full time. The following year, Bodie turned to Kickstarter to fund the game's development and launched a campaign on June 25, 2014. Within a week after the campaign's launch, it was funded and by the campaign's end it eventually raised over $176,667 out of its original $50,000 funding goal, allowing for the development of a PlayStation 4, Vita, and Nintendo Switch version along with various in-game extras. From there, Bodie established his own company at Lunar Ray Games.

The game's website can be found here. A sequel, Timespinner 2: Unwoven Dream, is currently under development.

Timespinner contains examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap:
    • The maximum level any orb can reach is 999, in a game that can be beaten with orb levels in the low twenties. Even accounting for orb levels jumping five at a time when upgraded with Elemental Beads, level 999 is almost unobtainably high.
    • Lunais' maximum level is 100, in a game where an initial playthrough will end around level 40.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: The "alchemy" in this setting is more accurately described as "enchanting," as it seems to mostly consist of infusing objects with magical effects.
  • And I Must Scream: The journal description for Experiment #13 has this little gem.
    If you listen carefully, you can hear it softly moaning in agony.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Relics you get for beating the game give Lunais a change of wardrobe, depending on which ending was seen. A Kickstarter reward also gives you some for your familiars.
  • An Ice Person: The Ice Orb creates ice spikes on the ground that damage enemies walking over them, the Frozen Spires spell creates a row of massive ice pillars that damage enemies, and the Icicle Ring causes melee attacks to shoot out icy projectiles. There is also an enemy called an "Ice Adept" that attacks by shooting icicles at you.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Just before the Ravenlord and Ifrit Bonus Bosses, there will always be a chest containing a Warp Shard to let the player escape the dungeon if they find themselves unable to beat the boss.
    • In the past's castle tower, there's an Ice Adept positioned just outside a room door on the lower floors. Exiting this room won't spawn the Ice Adept so a player doesn't bump into an enemy they couldn't have seen coming.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: The Gun Orb and Radiant Orb both ignore the shields carried by some enemies.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: The ancient Lachiemi were this, the dregs of Viletian society cast off to another planet until they built up an army able to fight against their former jailers. It later turns out this isn't quite true. Most of those "criminals" were simply honest people deemed undesireable by Vol Terrilis.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: One of the true endings if you get all the tuning gears for the Timespinner. After altering the past too much, reality breaks and Lunais is forced to fight the Greater-Scope Villain of the game, the Sandman. Doing so leaves an opening for a new deity of time, one which Lunais happens to be qualified to take. As the Eternal Mother, she repairs the damage done to her universe and ensures all her friends and family live a happy life at the cost of her mortal existence being erased from history.
  • BFS: The aptly-named Colossal Blade spell summons an enormous sword that deals a large amount of damage. Nuvius can also use it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All the endings to one extent or another.
    • In one, Lunais gets her revenge on her father Emperor Nuvius and ascends to the throne of the Empire, but she has to leave behind her family in order to do it.
    • The alternative to that ending is to return to the past and try to make a better future from there. This is slightly less bittersweet, since Lunais gets to stay with the friends she's made, but she still has to leave behind her village after visiting them one last time to say goodbye.
    • The true ending also counts. After using the Timespinner to kill either Nuvius or Vol Terrilis in the past, then destroying the Sandman and becoming the Eternal Mother, Lunais repairs the timeline and gives everyone a happy ending, but is unable to experience any of it herself, and knows that her mortal existence has to be erased from history.
  • Blood Magic: The Blood Orb "exsanguinates enemies with orbs of cursed blood."
  • Blow You Away: The Wind Orb "slices foes with supersonic gusts of wind."
  • Body Horror: The results of Lachiem's bio-engineering research aren't pretty.
    The negative side effects of the procedure, such as skin sloughing off and an... irregular restructuring of muscles, have made this procedure unfit for any practical applications.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The final item the Merchant Crow sells costs 99,999 entropy. It's an accessory that increases the amount of experience earned by familiars, which don't do all that much damage in the first place even when leveled up. By the time you can afford this item, you certainly aren't going to need it.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Most of the primary characters are some variety of LGBT, including Lunais herself who is bisexual.
  • Cheat Code: There are codes that can be entered in the Password screen within the game's Options menu, which can either unlock the Nightmare difficulty immediately without needing to beat the game on Normal first, and unlock the Kickstarter-exclusive content (the Merchant Crow plus the bonus skin, the Umbra Orb, and the Meyef skin) within the game, even if you didn't back the game on Kickstarter.
  • Cleans Up Nicely: Eschem is introduced as a gravely ill young man sick with the Bleakness, and his character portrait looks the part. After you do the sidequests to get him treatment, he looks much more Bishōnen.
  • Composite Character: The Sandman's first two forms reuses some attacks from previous bosses that Lunais has encountered, albeit harder to avoid than before.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Several of the late-game bosses are immune to the time stop power of Lunais. Even if she stops time, they keep moving, and so do their attacks.
  • Creepy Crows: The Ravenlord Bonus Boss is a giant group of ravens bunched together.
  • Deal with the Devil: In the past, Queen Aelana allied with Succubus and Incubus, a pair of demonic entities known as the Immortals, in order to gain the strength to fight back against Vilete. While this put an end to Vilete's tyranny, it gave rise to the expansionist Lachiem Empire in its place.
  • Death World: Lachiem is this in both past and present, in different ways.
    • When it was in its pristine state, the planet was quite unwelcoming, since it had a lot of aggressive fauna and even some dangerous flora, further making life harsh for the people exiled there from Vilete.
    • A millennia later, Lachiem is an highly advanced society but the planet's environment has been completely destroyed by the aftermath of the War of the Two Sisters; bizarre mechanical creatures modeled after extinct animals roam the desolate lands, and the only lifeforms that survive are underground and mutated. It's clear the Lachiemi survive only thanks to resources imported from colonies. It's so bad some people know the planet with the nickname "Devastation". After Lunais destroys the Maw of Asmodeus and the portal that connected Lachiem with Vilete, it gets even worse, as a second War of the Two Sisters poisoned Lachiem's atmosphere, requiring an air tank to be found before the Lake Desolation region can be explored again.
  • Developer's Foresight: Should a player start the path to the true ending but then go back and get the normal ending instead, Lunais will change her dialogue to reflect a late-game plot twist. She remarks that she's aware that the past and present are just dreams of Meyef's creation now, but doesn't care because it's better than facing the Sandman.
  • Double Jump: Acquiring the succubus hairpin allows Lunais to perform a second jump in midair.
  • Drop the Hammer: Like the Colossal Blade above, the Colossal Hammer spell is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The War of the Sisters was ended in 38 AE when Aelana the Great used the Maw of Asmodeus to completely destroy Vilete. Lachiem was not spared from the devastation however, and most of its surface is now uninhabitable because of Vilete's explosion. The remains of Vilete became a planetary ring.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The last form of Sandman, which takes form of a towering skeletal monstrosity as an incarnation of fears from all living things.
  • Emotion Eater: The incubus and succubus, a male and female pair of demons who thrive off of negativity, attempt to lure Lunais into their flock, noting that she has a lot of "drama" to work through.
  • The Empire: Lachiem fits this to a T, being an insterstellar realm ruled by a power-hungry Emperor. As did Vilete, when it was under the rule of Vol Terrilis.
  • Escort Mission: The final mission for the wounded soldier requires Lunais to guide him to the waterfall. Fortunately, the enemies are relatively weak by the time the mission unlocks, and Lunais can just run forward to wipe the enemies out before the soldier gets there.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Dr. Genza, present Lachiem's chief scientist, is a ruthless Evilutionary Biologist, but he is disgusted by the involvement of demonic forces in the Empire's expansion. Mostly because he and the demons fall on opposite ends of the Order Versus Chaos spectrum.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Viletians suffered a serious case of this in Vilete's final years. Those who had magic were treated as nobles and separated from their families to be raised in its academies, while normal people without magic were treated as second-class citizens, and any minor incident could lead to them being exiled to Lachiem. Those with magic were supposed to ignore those without magic.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The final boss battle with Sandman and its final form, Nightmare, which takes place within a ruin before time was formed and an empty void respectively.
  • Foreshadowing: Early on, Lunais is noted as being short tempered and quick to violence, both of which are symptoms of the Bleakness and teases about her heritage well before the game starts dropping clues that Nuvius is her father.
  • God Was My Co-Pilot: Meyef the dragon familiar is revealed to have been a deity, intending to guide Lunais to kill the Sandman and save reality.
  • G-Rated Sex: Lunais and Neliste, provided Neliste's final questline is completed; after sharing a tender moment, Lunais wakes up on the floor in Neliste's room the following morning. After this Neliste uses a lot more romantic language when talking to Lunais, and references that she should "come and see [her] when you can".
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Sandman, the god of time. After Lunais changes time too often, he gets sick of her interference and tries to kill her. Lunais can respond in kind by killing him and taking his job.
  • Guide Dang It!: There's a door with pink orbs in the past's castle, with nothing in the game telling you how to open it. You need the Plasma Orbs to open it, since it's the room of Queen Aelana the Great, and you obtain them after defeating her. The orbs are also pink.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Nightmare mode makes enemies much more powerful, but Nightmare Lv.1 also locks your level to Lv.1 for the entirety of your playthrough.
  • Healing Checkpoint: Every save point, marked on the map with a red room, fully restores HP as the game saves. It also restores aura and sand. This gets somewhat subverted in Nightmare Mode, as a number of the save points are broken.
  • Heroic Bastard: Lunais, who is the result of a brief liaison between her mother Selen and the Lachiemi crown prince Nuvius Erovia, who would later become Emperor and lead the assault on the Qaelan clan.
  • Huge Girl, Tiny Guy: Haristel, the towering amazonian soldier, and Rameda, the medic.
  • Hulk Speak: Meyef talks this way at first, but only because he's learning how to talk. He eventually gets much more eloquent.
  • Immune to Fate: Enforced by the time travel. Any Time Messenger who uses the Timespinner gets erased from history. This means they're allowed to do things that radically alter time, fate and prophecy as a result. Unfortunately, it also means their original timeline is also erased, leaving them stranded in a time where they were never born and their friends and family aren't familiar with them.
  • In a Single Bound: The Celestial Sash, which grants Lunais the ability to perform high-jumps by pressing Up+Jump, however it can only be found during the game's true ending route.
  • Joke Item: The Shiny Rock. It cost 9999 entropy, and it's only needed to get the Merchant Crow as a familiar in the Temporal Gyre if the player doesn't already have it by being a Kickstarter backer.
    Clearly someone thinks this is more valuable than it actually is.
  • Klingon Promotion:
    • Challenging the current emperor to mortal combat is the traditional way for the heir to take the throne of Lachiem. The revelation that Lunais is Nuvius' illegitimate child allows her to take the throne for herself after killing him.
    • After the True Final Boss, Lunais kills the Sandman and becomes the new god of time as the Eternal Mother.
  • Life Drain: The Sanguine Ring gives your melee attacks this effect. The Dusk Ring has a similar effect, granting you a larger HP recharge when you destroy an enemy.
  • Light 'em Up: The Radiant Orb creates a "shockwave" of light around the caster as an area-of-effect attack.
  • Living Weapon: The Eye Orb, eyeballs that were genetically created as weapons that can shred enemies with spinning blades. It's associated charged attack, Chaos Blades, creates massive spinning blades made of bones with an eye embedded in them around Lunais.
  • Logical Weakness: One of the weaknesses of the Sandman includes fire as extreme heat melts sand.
  • Lonely at the Top: Two different endings become this. If she becomes the Empress, she must leave her timeline and friends in the Past behind. If she becomes the Eternal Mother, she leaves all existence behind, only able to watch and protect the universe from a distance.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...: It's set on the planet Lachiem on the Erneah Galaxy, unrelated to ours.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: A few enemies carry a shield that blocks your attacks. The Shield Ring summons a small shield in front of you.
  • Magical Accessory: Come in two forms: Rings, which grant passive bonuses, and Necklaces, which allow you to cast powerful spells at the cost of Aura.
  • The Magocracy: Vilete was a rather fascist example of this, treating non-magical citizens as disposable and almost sub-human, exiling them to Lachiem for any minor slip-up.
  • Master of the Levitating Blades: Lunais, the protagonist, has telekinetic powers, and uses those powers to throw around orbs as her basic attacks. As the game progresses, Lunais can acquire orbs that transform into swords, hammers, and even guns. Some late-game bosses use similar fighting styles and powers.
  • Multiple Endings: There are four endings in the game.
    • Two of the endings come after being the Final Boss. After winning the fight, Lunais has a choice to either ascend to the throne of Empress herself or leave it all behind to be with the new friends that she's made.
    • The true ending has her become the Eternal Mother after defeating the Sandman. If she goes after Prince Nuvius, the Lachiemi never go after the Timespinner again. If she goes after Emperor Vol Terrilis, Lachiem and Vilete make peace without the portal being destroyed or demons being summoned.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The game goes as far as to have Vol Terrilis quote a slightly modified version of the Fourteen Words (a real-world neo-Nazi / white-supremacist slogan) in one of his edicts.
  • New Game Plus: Once you've cleared the game, you can play with a lot of the things you've acquired in a save carry over, including Lunais' costume from the end of the game.
  • No-Damage Run: The "Battle Savant" achievement requires you to defeat any boss without taking damage and without stopping time. Each boss achievement is marked if you do this to them.
  • Not Quite Flight: The final relic Lunais can find allows her to infinitely ascend, even able to use it as many times as she wants in the air for infinite double jumps. However, horizontal momentum stops completely.
  • Number of the Beast: The last form of the game's true final boss, Nightmare, has 6666 HP.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The first familiar you get in the game is Meyef, a baby dragon that makes cat sounds.
  • Official Couple: Seykis and Eschem will get together if their questlines are progressed. Potentially as well for Lunais and Neliste, if Lunais stays in the past and has completed all of Neliste's quests.
  • Palette Swap: Some of later enemies are just earlier ones, recolored and more powerful; justified because they are implied to be mutated versions. A boss fought late in the game as part of a quest is a recoloured version of an earlier boss, even if it's a man while the latter is a woman. On the path to the true ending you can choose to fight one of two bosses, and they are both sprite edits of the normal ending boss: justified with the younger Nuvius, but Vol Terrilis is just Nuvius with a different head and mostly red armor.
  • Password Save: Subverted. The game uses a save system with multiple save slots the player can use, but while in game, there's a password feature they can use unlock special features within the game.
  • Penal Colony: Back in 38 AE, Lachiem used to be one for Vilete. It had rich natural resources, but the planet lacked the atmospheric Plasma that was vital to the Viletians. This led to it being used to exile the undesirables of Vilete, like people without magic.
  • Playing with Fire: The Fire Orb splits into two fireballs before returning to you, the Pyro Ring allows your attacks to set enemies on fire, the Djinn Inferno spell conjures a large ball of magma, and the Infernal Flames spell essentially acts as a magical flamethrower.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Lunais says "This is [something]-icide" right before any of the final boss battles. She says "this is patricide" (killing one's father) when fighting Emperor Nuvius in the present, "this is regicide" (killing a monarch) when fighting the prince or the king in the past, and "this is deicide" (killing a god) right before fighting the Sandman.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The Temporal Gyre features enemies from all over the game, from the easiest of Mooks to a few Boss in Mook's Clothing type enemies exclusive just to this dungeon, along with the capability for them to appear in quantities of up to ten per room.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Equipping two Empire Orbs and a Star of Lachiem ring allow Lunais to dish out three shadowy fists as fast as the player can mash the button.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: The true ending path has this after killing either Prince Nuvius or Emperor Vol Terrilis. This leads to Meyef pulling you into the Dream World to save your existence.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: If Lunais goes back to kill Nuvius while he's still a Prince, she tears into him, essentially comparing his eventual murder of her mother to the temper tantrum of a spoiled child not getting his way.
  • Regenerating Health: The Sun Ring restores a few points of Lunais' HP every few seconds. The amount restored depends on how high her maximum health is and in the orb level of the Forbidden Tome, its source orb.
  • Ret-Gone:
    • Entering the Timespinner causes your old timeline to be erased from history, and erases all trace of your past from the new timeline, causing you to appear there as an outsider. One of the notes details a Time Messenger who had to sacrifice not just his marriage and his relationship with his wife but his children in this manner.
    • Invoked by Lunais, who intends to kill her own father, Emperor Nuvius in order to prevent him from killing her mother Selen and the Qaelan clan in his invasion of Winderia. Lunais ends up saving Vilete by erasing the methods used to destroy it.
  • RPG Elements: Lunais can gain experience points as she defeats enemies she encounters and equip various orbs, armors, and accessories throughout the game.
  • Ring of Power: Rings provide a passive bonus, but only one can be equipped at a time. They do such things as shoot icicles, reduce damage, or increase power at the cost of aura.
  • Science Fantasy: Magic, demons, spaceships, and genetic engineering all exist in this setting.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Nuvius killed his father and predecessor as Emperor, Leonius, to ascend to the throne of Lachiem. Lunais can do the same to him. Twice even, if she uses the repaired Timespinner to go back in time to kill him again.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The reason why the Time Messengers exist is to travel back in time when a disaster occurs and warn the clan about it. Lunais was trained to go back further in time to stop the Lachiemi from ever finding out about the Timespinner.
    • Lunais can do even more impressive feats than the other Time Messengers: She can stop the War of the Two Sisters single-handedly, saving Vilete from destruction and vastly weakening the Lachiem Empire in the future. In the boss fights that lead to the True Ending, Lunais can either kill her father Nuvius when he was still a prince, thus undoing the destruction of the Qaelan, OR... go back to past Vilete to kill Vol Terrilis, ending the War of the Two Sisters before it ever begins, save Philia from dying by his hands, and ensuring Lachiem and Vilete remain united as sister worlds, never turning on each other ever again.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Genza attempts this on Lunais by fighting her in the shape of her mother Selen. Lunais is thrown off for a moment, but quickly pulls herself together for the ensuing fight.
  • She Is the King: In the normal ending, Lunais kills her father, the Emperor, setting up a Klingon Promotion where she takes the throne as the new Emperor, trying to rule as fair as possible.
  • Shown Their Work: Supplementary information sometimes uses accurate scientific jargon, and one file found details treatments for the Bleakness in appropriately academic language.
  • Teleportation Misfire: Selen and Lunais tried to use the Timespinner to save their clan from Nuvius. Unfortunately, he caught up to them and strangled Selen to death to break her link to the device. The results were disastrous: The Timespinner exploded and teleported Lunais to Lachiem, stranding her right in the heart of the empire.
  • Time Stands Still: After finding the Timespinner's wheel, Lunais can temporarily stop time and use her enemies, and some of their projectiles, as platforms as long as she has enough sand. Some enemies and obstacles are immune to this, though. One enemy can only attack or be attacked while time is frozen.
  • Video Game Dashing: The Talaria Attachment, a late-game relic, gives Lunais the ability to dash through a telekinetic harness. Unlike in some other games, the dash continues infinitely for as long as Lunais is in a solid surface. She also keeps it for New Game Plus.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: If players meet the conditions of the true ending, they can travel to ???, a dimension before time existed.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: While Lunais can travel one thousand years into the future and past, she can't get back to Winderia since the Timespinner was destroyed by Emperor Nuvius. She's able to return there briefly in the normal endings, but can't stay - in order to make things better, she either needs to return to the past or return to Lachiem to rule the Empire.
  • You Killed My Mother: Lunais' motive is to kill Emperor Nuvius for killing her mother Selen before her eyes.