Ah, time trial games. They’re usually pretty light on content, but there’s just something about racing against the clock to try and get better times. Warstride Challenges combines typical time trial elements with old-school FPS mechanics for something that’s notably different than what’s familiar. The game enters Early Access today, bringing with it a bunch of levels and some pretty demanding trials for players to overcome. The game will stay in Early Access for the next year or so, with plans to receive new levels and features as development comes to a close. But the question stands: is Warstride Challenges worth it in Early Access?
There are no screens of text to sift through here. No half-assed explanations for who you’re playing as or what they’re trying to accomplish. You’re a person who has guns, and you need to get through green gateways in order to access more levels. Once the game starts, you jump into the tutorial where Warstride Challenges immediately bares its teeth. If you’re into first-person shooters, you’re familiar with the bunny hop. Well, being good with the bunny hop is a requirement for succeeding in this game. If you don’t bunny hop your way around the levels, you won’t get good scores, got it?
Your goal in each level is as simple as can be. You start at one end and you need to make it through the aforementioned green gate on the other side. However, by default, that gate is red. The only way to turn it green is to kill all of the enemies in each level. You’ll do this with a standard assortment of FPS weapons, beginning with a pistol and then a shotgun. Headshots do more damage, so those are strongly encouraged, lest you waste too much time pumping lead and screw yourself out of a better medal.
The tortoise and the scare
In Warstride Challenges, you need to concentrate on making your way through the levels as quickly as you can while taking out baddies. This is a fairly tall order, but you’ll have help in the form of slow-mo. Yes, you can slow down time with the touch of a button. But you don’t have an unlimited amount of slow-mo usage, so it’s important to have it on only as long as you need it. For instance, you’ll be bunny hopping through a hallway, only to need to slow down time for a second so you can slam a round into the head of an approaching foe.
It’s tough and kind of invigorating. The game starts out a bit lenient, but it doesn’t take long before you to have to start memorizing levels to cut your time down enough. Things also start to change up the further you go, with new features getting introduced as you progress, such as needing to shoot buttons as they appear to open doors. Some levels also require you to blast large groups of foes while making use of exploding barrels, as there’s no time to take them out individually.
Progression is based around getting medals, but levels aren’t a one and done. Most levels have a hard version with their own set of medals that you’ll need to unlock new opportunities to race against the clock. Warstride Challenges ran very well for me and the controls were perfectly smooth and reliable. It can get pretty intense, but this is a damn fun game if you like an FPS and time trials. I’d say that Warstride Challenges is worth it in Early Access, as it’s already polished and has a solid amount of content. Just know that the game’s victories don’t come easy.