There are games that are timeless: “Tetris” comes to mind, just like “Super Mario 3” or “Super Mario World”. Sadly, not all games made in yesteryear translate all that well into modern gaming. So, is “Blades of Time” like fine wine? Or has it aged like vinegar?
You play as a treasure hunter, looking for your missing partner and of course, treasure along the way. You have melee weapons and ranged weapons. It’s a basic hack-n-slash formula that actually works pretty well, and requires a bit of finesse, rather than just button-mashing. You can try to take the faster enemies from a distance, but you may soon be too close to them for comfort. I actually enjoyed the gameplay of “Blades of Time” more than most people I’ve seen comment about it online, and that makes me happy.
The presentation in general is also very good, with graphics in particular looking very modern (if a bit too brown in some spots) and with a high polygon count (more on that later). There’s also full voice-acting throughout, and while this is appreciated and, for the most part, well-performed, the truth is that time hasn’t been kind to the script, and it really lacks the polish we’ve come to expect in modern gaming storytelling.
Sadly, it kind of, sort of, goes downhill from there. The hack-n-slash formula does get a bit repetitive, as there isn’t too much depth (I know that asking for RPG-like elements in a game such as this is a bit rich, but even so) and you basically see everything the game has to offer within the first 30-40 minutes.
And while the graphics look great stationary, and the polygon count is high, the truth is that there are just too many performance issues to enjoy the frantic combat. It is almost game-breaking in handheld mode when you’re facing a lot of enemies at once, and big areas take a couple of seconds to load, leaving you staring at a stationary screen. You just get the sense that, either the Switch isn’t powerful enough (which I don’t believe to be the case, as games like EVERSPACE look much more impressive in a bigger scale), or the developers didn’t optimize the Switch version enough. Sadly, I’m inclined to go with the latter.
Overall, “Blades of Time” is a classic hack-n-slash to which time hasn’t been kind: the dialog has aged poorly, and the Switch version suffers from too many performance issues for me to recommend. The gameplay itself, if basic, can be tremendously fun in short bursts, but the regular framedrops and the shallow depth of the weapons system make for a game that, in its current state, likely won’t appeal even to hardcore genre fans.