It is a shame that the creativity and thoughtfulness that went into No Time to Explain’s level design did not go into its accessibility features. No Time to Explain is a puzzle/platformer with a lot of humor and charm. You are in control of a dimension jumping protagonist that must chase after his alternate reality selves and save them from alien kidnappers. The game consists of short levels interspersed with boss fights, but the ways in which you must make it through the various stages is what sets the game apart.
For most of the game, your character uses a beam weapon to both damage enemies and navigate across gaps and around spikes. The weapon’s knockback boosts the character in the opposite direction of its fire, which makes movement a bit difficult at times, especially if you are trying to attack and move at the same time. Some of the level solutions also require precise movement, but failure is almost never punishing outside of boss fights, and each death instantaneously puts you back at the point you jumped from. In order to keep things fresh, the gameplay changes fairly regularly, with sections that play like a sidescrolling shooter or levels that change how your weapon functions.
Unfortunately, No Time to Explain has some of the poorest accessibility options that I have seen in a long time. There is no way to change the controls, no subtitles, and no way to ease the game’s difficulty. With even some small changes, this game could have drastically improved its accessibility in at least the visual or hearing categories.
There are not many positive aspects to No Time to Explain’s mobility accessibility. The absence of quick time events and lack of button mashing are just about the only things it has going for it. The lack of a camera to control is its only other incidental boon.
Otherwise, you cannot remap the controls or alter the joystick sensitivity. There are no difficulty levels or game assists and the entire game relies on very precise inputs. Most of the time, the player is required to use both joysticks, along with the occasional shoulder button in order to navigate the level, and certain levels have time-sensitive portions or give players a limited number of lives.
While some of the poor mobility accessibility can be attributed to the twin-stick control scheme, the terrible hearing accessibility does not have any excuse. Though you can technically complete the game without sound, as all audio cues have accompanying visual ones, there are no subtitles for any dialogue in the game. A large part of the game’s charm is from its writing, and to have that be inaccessible is incredibly disappointing.
The best thing I can say about the visual accessibility is that there should be no problems with colorblindness. Most of the levels are in high contrast, though some environments are darker than others. The very limited menus are easy enough to read, but sadly there are no subtitles for the substantial amount of dialogue in the game.
* A platform/puzzler with innovative ideas and varied level designs
* A fun sense of humor (for those that don’t need subtitles)
* Not completely terrible visual accessibility
* Twin-stick controls require very precise movements and timing
* No subtitles for any of the dialogue
* Sometimes the mechanics end up feeling more frustrating than fun