The Arrow of Time


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DoraArrow of TimeYoung Prince Peep is having a really bad day. It's not because his name is Peep, as you might think, since Peep is actually a very appropriate name for a Whistle Knight. No, Peep is having a bad day because he is actually the last of the Whistle Knights, who have guarded the legendary Arrow of Time for generations against all invaders. Peep is determined to keep the Arrow safe, and thanks to Super Flash Bros, you can help him take the helm in this new defense title: The Arrow of Time.

It's nice to play a defense game that actually makes an effort to incorporate a story that unfolds as the game progresses, as this one does in short scenes between battles or dialogue before and after. We're not talking Tolkien or Jordan here, as far as fantasy stories go, but it serves as a nice incentive to keep playing.

Gameplay is pretty standard and takes no risks; enemies will appear onscreen, and you use massive arrows to destroy them before they can attack your castle. If your castle's health, indicated by a bar at the top of the screen, runs out, you lose the game, and are presented with a failure screen that seems designed for the express purpose of making you feel guilty about it. Thanks a lot, game, now I feel like a bully. Fortunately, the game autosaves between each level, so you never have to go back very far.

During battle, click on the prince and drag the cursor to pull back the string on your bow, which determines how far your arrow will travel. Release the mouse button to let the arrow fly. Destroying enemies gets you points, which you can use to purchase various defensive and offensive upgrades between battles. You can click on your castle at any time during battle to change the types of arrows you fire, once you've acquired new ones, and to use your upgrades.

Arrow of Time attempts to inject some new ideas into this by adding extra points whenever you destroy an enemy by attacking key areas such as wings and propellers. It should be fun to pick apart your enemies as they grow closer, except it's difficult enough to aim manually at a moving target, and it becomes even harder when you let loose with an arrow only to have it fall short because you didn't put enough oomph in the string. Speaking of, I'm not sure who decided it would be a good idea that you can hurt yourself with your own arrows if one ricochets back at you or falls back down on you, but I think I hate them a little. Especially during the boss battles.

Arrow of Time
Analysis: Arrow of Time has a lovely, dreamlike quality to its aesthetics and music that I really appreciate. It reminds me a lot of later Zelda titles in terms of tone and style. The graphics are simple and clean, and little touches, such as the castle actually looking ruined the more damage it takes, are nice. I loved the artwork between levels, simple as it is, and I grew fairly attached to our intrepid little hero who, for a prince, looks far more adorable than royal. In fact, it was the beautiful design and clever creatures that helped me push past the initial frustration I felt while trying to get used to Arrow of Time's battles. Unlike games where you place your defenses and they do the fighting for you, this one requires you to be a crack shot, and therein lies the bulk of the difficulty.

The lack of any onscreen indicator as to how much force you're putting behind your shots initially makes things a lot more difficult than they need to be. It's hard to feel like a stalwart knight when you're watching your arrows drop well short of an enemy like a Looney Tunes cartoon, and there were some times early on when I certainly thought dropping an anvil would be more effective. Since you have to shoot at certain parts to incapacitate your foes, it makes aiming that much more critical, and usually leaves you with a faceful of enemy fire while your arrows fly harmlessly past their heads. Does it get more instinctive as you go on? Sure. But the initial frustration may turn a lot of new players off.

Which is a shame, because this is honestly a game that grew on me the more I played it. The stranglehold of aiming loosens as you purchase several very helpful upgrades, and when you can finally sit back and let yourself think a little more strategically during battle, you can really begin to appreciate all the thought behind the game. It's fairly lengthy, which gives you plenty of time to perfect your aim, and once you do the game remains challenging without leaving you wanting to put an arrow through your monitor.

Despite some control and initial difficulty issues, Arrow of Time is an impressive example of a game that manages to be both action-packed and cinematic. Taken with a grain of salt and some patience, it can easily win you over if you give it a chance.

Play The Arrow of Time

Thanks for sending this one in, Clipartman!

50 Comments

I am totally in love with this game. I love all the different types of arrows, and of course that gives you tons of combinations to try out. :)

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samalakar Author Profile Page May 4, 2009 6:52 PM

It is a really pretty game, but I just don't wish to and won't continue because of the clumsy controls.

I can't help but imagine how much I might enjoy this game if it were controlled with the mouse to aim, and with click-and-holding to determine shot force.

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Gryphon78 Author Profile Page May 4, 2009 7:45 PM

I wish I knew what all the arrows did. some of them are obvious, like explosive and piercing arrows, but some are very vague, like traitor and time arrows.

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Homing+Exploding=win

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samalakar... that's how I control it. Maybe there's a setting in the options menu that changes that?

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Gryphon78 Author Profile Page May 4, 2009 8:25 PM

I had some lag errors with explosive fire arrows (both level 3) but it might just be my computer.

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This is a fun game with nice style, but it is ultimately less deep as it first appears. I played through it a few times this weekend, and it seems that a lot of the arrow types are useless.

As Bibs indicated, the exploding arrows are all you really need.
Gravity arrows pull nearby enemies towards the arrow, but this just makes them harder to hit.
Lead and Helium make enemies sink/float off the screen, which is good for getting rid off them, but you won't get as many points.
Teleport arrows actually just teleport your target to a random spot on the screen.

Also, I was unable to ascertain whether the "Combo Upgrade" actually did anything.

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Gryphon78 Author Profile Page May 4, 2009 9:01 PM

I just finished the game and...

I unlocked freeplay. it said you could experiment, and asked if you found the dinosaurs. has anybody found these dinosars?

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chris martin May 4, 2009 9:19 PM

The dinosaurs

These are found when using the time arrows at level 3. When you hit the enemy, they go back to their previous reincarnations. When you pass the first level of these, they turn into dinosaurs.

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funzzak May 4, 2009 10:32 PM

From what I can tell,

the traitor arrow does almost nothing at level 1, and at level 2 & 3 it turns the enemy on other enemies temporarily.

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Yeah, fun game, but I wish there were descriptions of the arrows types.

Also, the first time I played ???? age, I had level 3 lightning and explosion arrows and that plus the particles of the enemies made me lag so badly at first, even at lowest quality.

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As far as I can tell, these are the powers:

Piercing - arrow can go through enemies
Fire - sets enemies on fire, continuously causing damate
Ice - freezes enemy (not sure if this does anything more than change a visual effect)
Lightning - shocks enemy and any nearby enemies
Homing - guides arrow slightly towards enemy
Exploding - larger area effect damage
Teleport - sends enemy to another location (highest level makes enemy completely vanish)
Traitor - Enemy attacks other enemies
Lead - Enemy drops off bottom of screen
Helium - Enemy floats off top of screen
Gravity - Enemy is attracted slightly towards arrow
Time - Enemy is transformed into an earlier incarnation

The Combo Upgrades can be purchased so that you can have "hotkey" combos. I prefer to hit the spacebar unless I have oodles of money

The Fortress upgrades are essential near the end of the game.

My favorite combo is

the exploding arrow with the lightning arrow. I'm all about area effect damage

But if the enemies are far away, I think it's better to have

the exploding arrow with a fire arrow

All in all a fun casual game. I just wish it wouldn't lag near the later levels.

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tsempetOr Author Profile Page May 5, 2009 12:34 AM

Nice game.

Pretty easy

explosion & lightning is a pretty nice combo

I think the concept is great! I just wish there were more options, more levels, and more kinds of guys. Maybe (other than boss) some should be immune to certain kinds of arrows. That would certainly cut down on the clear awesomeness of some arrows.

My favorite, besides the 'best' is piercing. I like how it can go through the guys. Traitor is also pretty cool. Shame the boss is immune to traitor (ha).

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Great animation & atmosphere. Great music. I too, decided on the

Homing & Explosive arrow combination

myself before it was suggested here. Most others seemed worthless. Free play is much more relaxing now. But I gotta find those dinosaurs. Couldn't find them in

The World at War using time arrows.

I must be doing something wrong.

Would be more fun with more control over shooting. I ended up just using furious mouse movement. But still a thumbs-up from me.

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Aha! Found the dinosaurs! KEWL!

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Anonymous May 5, 2009 1:44 AM

I found that lightning plus piercing arrow was best against the bosses. It does huge damage.

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Heatwizard May 5, 2009 1:52 AM

I've been using

Fire + Lv. 2 Time myself. Damage over time + time freeze = illogical but useful combination. For bosses, I found Lightning + Homing to be a good combo. Neither is doing me much good in the future levels though. I find myself wishing I hadn't gone for Time lv. 3. As awesome as turning robot blimps into dinosaurs is, it's just not practical.

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krathar Author Profile Page May 5, 2009 5:23 AM

Such a nice game. The gameplay is a genius. And I think

Combination of Piercing and Homing both a max level is the best. You don't need to really aim them. Just a slight pull and there they go. You can make a few attacks just with one arrow

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krathar Author Profile Page May 5, 2009 6:11 AM

And oh lol. Flying T-Rex!

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I'm not sure what game samalakar is playing. It's completely mouse-controlled, exactly as he describes.

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samalakar Author Profile Page May 5, 2009 9:09 AM

Sorry for the confusion guys... let me clarify.
This game is controlled with the mouse, yes, but you have to have to click in the small circle in the center first, then draw back with the mouse. The aim (initial arrow path) will be diametrically opposite, and the force will depend on how far back you draw the bow.

This forces me to go back to the center each time (somewhat of a pain on a trackpad) and try and pull back consistent amounts if I want to have consistency (also difficult on the trackpad). As described by Dora, this system can be frustrating.

I think an option for a alternate aiming and shooting system could be beneficial. Instead of aiming by pulling back, I think the aim should be set as to where the cursor is- aiming in the direction of where the enemy you are targeting seems much more natural. Arrow force should depend on how long you click and hold (i.e. instant clicks should let you shoot arrows quickly with minimum force, letting you defend in dire situations, and longer clicks providing more power, yielding greater accuracy, but eating up more time). To keep things from becoming lethargic, maximum power should be reached in about a second or so. A power indicator and rising tone (or some other visual clue) would aid shooting.

The repetitive feel to the game can be lessened by eliminating the need to return to the center after every shot. Also, it may just be me, but I feel that games that make me focus on click timing (to determine power) have a better rhythm, and get me into a flow state. Maybe this would hinder the floating dream-like feel to the game, but I think the controls improvement would create a much more enjoyable game for all.

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samalakar Author Profile Page May 5, 2009 9:18 AM

And holding a click and holding for longer to build power seems fundamentally more natural than clicking and dragging a certain distance to set power.

I realize this might not be the same for everyone, though, so an option to choose between control systems would be the best solution.

(@Blahp... boy will my face be red if there is actually an option for this already that I missed)

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Alright so before reading the comments I was using the combo of

Lightning+Explosion

Then I decided to experiment a bit and found a better combo

Piercing+Traitor (both level 3)
This lets you go through up to 3 enemies and make all 3 turn against each other. Can beat most levels with no damage.

Also for a ton of points

Any of the first 3 levels with the combo of time+homing then switch to explosive+homing (all level 3) this will make everything dinos and then you get a ton of points for killing them.

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Wow, this game's addictive. One of the few JiG games I've played all the way through! :) Yeah, I have a short attention span. Anyway, not sure if anyone's posted this combo, but for me...

level 3 piercing and level 3 homing are devastating! The arrows punch right through multiple enemies and then circle around to find more. Just rapidly firing arrows straight up results in a swarm of circling deadly steel. Woot :)

Also, the "time" arrow may at first just seem to slow down the bad guys, but at level 3

it reverts the enemy to its equivalent from the previous time period! So if you hit, say, a blimp in "World at War" with it, it turns into a Victorian balloon. Hit it again, it turns into a 1700s balloon. Hit it again, and it turns into a dinosaur and plummets off the screen! :)

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Rich W Author Profile Page May 5, 2009 5:00 PM

Cool game, I enjoyed it a lot. My only problem is that it's a bit short for the sheer number of upgrades that are available and, for the most part, most of them are either useless or overkill... I'll use spoiler tags here just to be safe...

Aside from the Bubble shield, the defense options were rather useless. The turrets were nothing more than additional points from which arrows could be shot. And the floating thing barely did any damage when it actually shot at something.

The weapons choices is far beyond what anyone needs and like others have said, many of them are pointless. I for one stuck with the piercing/exploding and piercing/lightning combos for nearly the entire game, all upgraded to level 3.

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Kestrel May 5, 2009 7:14 PM

Samalakar, there is a tone, but it's hard to hear over the music. Once I realized it was there, it was very helpful. Hope this helps!

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zbeeblebrox Author Profile Page May 5, 2009 11:58 PM

Pretty art
But this game hates my fingers. Quit after the first level.

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I wish you could name arrows, so I could name the Electric/Explosive arrow the "Sonic Boom" arrow.;P

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Mystify Author Profile Page May 6, 2009 2:01 PM

It is fun to use

Level 3 peircing /time
In the future fantasy level, A good shot can send a bomber to a dinosaur. Not the most useful combination, but sending thme back multiple time levels with each hit is nice.

Also, having to hold to charge a shot would limit your speed a lot
I just pull back the bow to max, and fire, and I can keep up a really good rate of fire with good distance. If I had to hold, aiming would be slower and less precise.

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Kegluneq Author Profile Page May 6, 2009 11:30 PM

I find that a good beginning combo is

fire and lightning, that way you can get that nice burning if you hit them head on, but if you miss by a little, damage is still dealt

And for the last few levels, when things get really hard,

at least level 2 on both teleport and homing work really well, you don't get many points since a bunch of enemies are sent straight off the screen, but since they're so powerful and its almost the end of the game anyway, it's a very effective combo.

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I found

Level 2 Piercing + Level 2 Lightning

to be effective against

Toot's future machine

Also, can anyone please make creative names for the possible combos? For fun.

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someone May 9, 2009 4:14 PM

hi! loved it, finished it, and did the last wave a lot. my winning combos and their function:

1:

piercing and lightning(exploding won't pierce); for clumps of enemies.

2:

exploding and lightning; for toot(toot is the boss, peep is the character).

3:

homing and exploding(lightning works best when accompanied piercing or a good attack);for far away enemies.

oh yeah, in case of emergency, use bubble shield(works on the last level too).

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someone May 9, 2009 9:36 PM

another function for 2 and 3 is "destroying touching enemies" and the actual function for 1 is "destroying aligning enemies".

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Anonymous May 10, 2009 5:10 PM

No matter what anyone tells you, I experimented with EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE ARROWS, and found that the best of the best is Time Arrows combo'd with Explosive Arrows (full power recommended with both) Makes final battle look like horse toilets.

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i think

homing arrows and fire arrows

work best

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lvl 3 time and exploding ftw. i got 40k points on THE FIRST LEVEL with this combo.

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Anonymous May 18, 2009 7:43 PM

here's a killer arrow combo

homing arrows/Piercing arrows

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Ok this is a really fun game and I have beat all three profiles with 4 stars or above.

The two best combos in my opinion is for regular enemies lvl 3 explosion and lighting. but for bosses use lvl 3 piercing and homing it owns so bad if you even have just the regular shield defence upgrade the last boss will die before the shield depletes!

also i hope they make a second arrow of time! that would rock!

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TheWinner May 22, 2009 7:27 PM

Ok this game was pretty fun. It had alot of useful stuff and alot of completely useless stuff. maybe a 8/10 because it was fun and kept me interested, but let me down with the upgrades, where one combo was really overpowered and just required you to keep tapping the left-click button. Combo is below for those who wish to use it:

Use the the extra towers upgrade, with level 3 seeker and level 3 explosives arrow combo upgrade. Controls must be set to "Hold", not "Drag"

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I was impressed on how different the game was from most defence games. Its pretty interesting. You the one aiming every shot, and the enemies have weak points.

If you hit their weak points, then they start to plummet, where you have the choice to try and destroy them, or to just ignore them and aim for someone else. Destroying them gives you extra points.

The arrow system + combination system was also interesting.

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About the fire arrow.

When the arrow is upgraded to level 3, it releases a trail of flints when the arrow flies. These flints can actually set the enemy on fire. So if your arrow flies over them, they still will catch on fire if they land. How great is that!

And I'll give you a bonus people.

This is about the Firey Explosion. (We should come up with names for combinations.)

This combination uses explosions and fire. These two compliment each other nicely. The unique thing about the combination is that the damage is higher due to their nature. Basically, because they are simular, the damage done by the explosion is higher. With a level 2 fire and level 1 explosion, it practically vaporized the enemies in the second era.

I would also like to name 2 more. Smart bombs. Homing + Explosions. And Flank Fire. Fire + Homing. (Sorry, no explinations, just wanted to name some.) Good luck with Toot everyone. He gets tougher.

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for my combo i used

explosive and lead arrows

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Anonymous August 19, 2009 11:47 AM

My personal favourite 3 combos are Homing/Piercing= Spam and leave
Homing/Time= Just keep firing and watch dinos fall out of the sky
Homing/Lightning= Zapped to death

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I think I found the most useless combo in the game.

Lead + Helium arrows. It practically has no effect at all.

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sean payton October 10, 2009 9:38 AM

im stuck on last boss, because no matter what i do he doesn't die. no matter what combo and i'm using the combos you guys are saying and it ain't working! help me out, is there a difficulty change?

[Edit by Kayleigh]

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Anonymous March 16, 2010 5:39 PM

With the lightning and bomb both upgraded you will never lose against Toot. That is his weakness.

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arrows

the shock interceptor
lvl3 homing and thunder
(fire of a little and watch as they shoot the enemy for you)
lvl3 homing and fire
nalpamer
same as thunder slower but hits moar than one (eg kill 1 and they hit the next)
snf blade interceptor
lvl3 homing and pierce

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lvl 3 traitor + teleport FTW, also; fire arrow + explosive for the boss and fire + lightning for early-mid lvls.

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zxcvbn23ful Author Profile Page May 15, 2012 4:34 AM

hey this is really fun
also i pick up 2 combo to be the best against toots machine

lvl.3 explosive+lvl.3 homing

and

lvl.3 explosive+ lvl.3 thunder

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lycyfyrsam Author Profile Page July 7, 2012 9:57 AM

i really love this game--& i hate shootemup games! the artwork & the music & the story & the atmosphere & even the gameplay after a short while of being unable to aim at anything--all fabulous.

but so is the review. it's marvellous in its own inexplicable way--& since i'm unsure anyone else pointed this out i thought i might. kudos to all.

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