It’s probably not going to surprise anyone that a game based on a movie turned out poorly. So, even the most excited Justin Timberlake fan should view this tie-in to the stylish one’s new sci-fi flick, In Time, with suspicion. Whether the movie is any good is irrelevant in the face of just how bad the game based on it actually turned out to be.
Admittedly, if someone stripped out the few still shots from the movie and the trailer link, there’d be no way to know In Time: the Game was based on anything at all. It’s just that generic. The so-called story mode, which actually lacks any story whatsoever, is a series of 16 levels where the player just runs forward through urban levels.
An executive jogging suit.
Each level has a specific goal. In some, the object is just to get to the end before time runs out, while others require the runner to save a certain number of people, avoid a specific number of bad guys, or hit a pre-designated score. Saving civilians just requires running by (or into) them, which takes ten seconds off your time, but increases the point multiplayer. Avoiding bad guys just means pressing the dodge button whenever one is nearby.
For levels where attaining a specific score is the goal, the level just ends once that score is hit–so there’s no going for the gold to see how much more you can rack up past the target score. Some levels have more complicated goals, such as saving six civilians while in “hero time.” Hero time is started once enough people have been saved and results in major points. There’s also a quick play mode, where the player just runs until their time expires.
In Time takes the running-game genre into 3D using the Unreal engine, though you’d be hard pressed to tell. The graphics are bland, low-resolution, and downright ugly. Worse, you’ll end up passing through the same few sections in each map thanks to an extreme reuse of the same architecture. Animation is stiff and character models are poorly detailed.
The runner automatically runs forward and is steered using only tilt controls. On the screen, there are buttons for dodging left and right and jumping. Thankfully, jumping is seldom necessary, as it’s frustratingly unresponsive. Aside from jumping, the controls work well enough. Unfortunately, since the levels are so repetitive, there’s very little challenge here and the level design is just mediocre with no interest in doing anything at all creative with its concept.
In Time – The Game could well be the poster child for bad movie tie-ins. It’s boring and repetitive, visually unappealing, and amazingly uninspired. Back in the day, this might have just been some cheaply-made, free-to-play Java game thrown on the movie’s website. Unfortunately, Fox Mobile is actually charging $0.99 for the privilege of playing this disaster, which is perhaps the biggest sin of all.