Review – The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines

The latest indie title to be released by the publisher with the weirdest name in the business, The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, the same company behind the recent (and forgettable) Roundguard and #Funtime, is The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines. One would expect for a game with such title to be something epic and majestic, but sadly that isn’t the case. This is just another sad case of a very forgettable game with very little to offer in its favor, even though it’s not particularly bad.

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What the hell happened to my eyes??

The Ambassador is a run-of-the-mill twin-stick shooter. Just as you would expect from a game like this, you run around small arenas with the sole objective of killing everyone in sight in order to proceed to the next area. Like most games of the genre, there’s always a gimmick or two to make the game differ itself from the competition, whether it’s the theme or a little twist in its gameplay. In The Ambassador‘s case, its main selling point is the possibility to manipulate time. Well, sort of.

You don’t have full control over time. You can’t actually rewind time and correct a previous mistake, for instance. All you can do is briefly stop time around you, freeze enemies and projectiles, and switches while your time manipulation meter lasts. You can use that to extend the otherwise small amount of time enemies give you to attack them once they let their guard down. You can cast a small shield to protect you from incoming arrows, allowing you to destroy otherwise impenetrable rocks. As well as extend the amount of time a gate will remain open after pressing a switch, and so on. It may sound like this gimmick turns The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines into an interesting action game, but honestly, that’s almost everything this game has to offer, and it’s very skin deep.

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You might be deadly, but you’re kinda adorable.

This time manipulation gimmick is exactly that, a gimmick. As for the rest, The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines is just a very simplistic endurance shooter. You have a limited amount of hearts, although you can restore them by eating meat, as well as two weapon slots. One is a non-magical ranged weapon, like a sword that can be thrown like a boomerang, and a magical staff that consumes mana once used. There’s not a lot of strategy involved besides using time mechanics as small protective barriers, as well as running away from an enemy in order to leave them open for an attack. Just kill everyone until you eventually fight a boss and go back to the main hub.

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Let this guy swing his axe and only then you’ll be able to attack him. Use your time gimmick to extend the amount of time he’ll be left vulnerable to your attacks.

The Ambassador doesn’t manage to impress with its visuals and sound department either. It doesn’t feature particularly pleasing pixel art visuals with repetitive environments and some really ugly character sprites. It looks even worse if you decide to play it on full screen mode. To add insult to injury, it only runs at a locked 30fps, even though it could easily run at twice the framerate. This would improve the overall pacing and the accuracy of your aiming. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable, as well as its sound effects.

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Hey, The Lord of the Rings told me you were one of the good guys…

Like the sound design, “forgettable” is the word I’d use to describe The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines as a whole. It’s not a bad game, but it’s absolutely uninteresting. Its time manipulation mechanic alone does not make up for how bland and generic its visuals, sound, and overall gameplay are. There are just way better twin stick shooters out there with better graphics, performance, and gameplay gimmicks; The Ambassador┬ájust doesn’t stand a chance. Just like its publisher’s previous release, which was also a twin-stick shooter, it’s best for you to simply ignore this game and pick up something more interesting.

 

Graphics: 5.5

Not very detailed, nor does it look pretty when you put it on full screen mode. It also runs at a locked 30fps, weirdly enough.

Gameplay: 6.0

The time freezing mechanic is interesting, but it’s not very developed. The developers could have done a better job by implementing more interesting puzzle solutions and combat options with it. Besides this, it’s your standard twin-stick control scheme, although limited to 30fps… on PC…

Sound: 5.5

The sound department can best be described as “forgettable”. The soundtrack is comprised of mediocre background music you’ll barely pay attention to, as well as half a dozen sound effect clips.

Fun Factor: 5.5

Just like the rest of the game, it isn’t bad, but it’s generic and forgettable. There are much better twin-stick shooters on the market.

Final Verdict: 5.5

The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines was provided by the publisher.