Killing Time is a JRPG in where we play as Hatsuki, an assassin trained from childhood in order to take down the Empire and serve the rebel organization. As soon as we start playing the game, we are introduced to how vicious this job is as we mow down a few squads of poorly trained recruits in a mission. This also serves as the tutorial to come to grip with the combat though if you’ve ever played an RPG Maker or Final Fantasy title, you’ll be right at home. It is all turn-based with a simple attack option or multiple skills to choose from if you are willing to use up some Energy (magic) and land a far beefier hit against your foes. You will always fight by yourself and face up to three enemies at once which is far more manageable than one would imagine.
I highly suggest not choosing the Easy difficulty upon booting up the title, or you will simply be mashing the enter key all the way to the end credits as you will be an unstoppable killing machine. Even on Normal, it doesn’t begin to show some semblance of a challenge until near the end or on certain bosses. Indeed, your biggest challenge from the get-go will be finding out where the flipping heck the hideout you are supposed to report to is. Right after the tutorial, we are teleported there for a debriefing and immediately teleported to our house for a rest, but where that shady looking room was is anyone’s guess. That area serves as a rather large hub-world featuring an inn, a pub and many houses that you can explore and interact with the NPCs. Once you do find it, that will cease to be a problem though as a supposed elite assassin for that organization it does feel silly.
My poor sense of direction aside, this hideout is where you’ll buy weapons, potions and accept murder contracts for the next person or monster that got on their bad side. The feeling that the people that you work for are just as bad as the people they hate is prevalent, leading to a rather interesting departure of playing simply joining a heroic band of rebels against a hilariously evil empire. Do not expect a good story, however. I’ve seen worse, and I’ve seen better, it is just average with the bad English translation hampering it down a little bit more. The English is understandable for the most part though I have seen quite a few instances where some of the text remains untranslated from Chinese.
Our protagonist, Hatsuki is the only character with a voice actor and is a very weak character like the rest of the cast. None more so than her love interest Bruneu. This guy shows up at the start of the game, does one good deed and doesn’t show up again until the end. He is supposed to be our emotional incentive to stop us from doing evil deeds, but one could not literally care less about that faceless, emotionless man that Hatsuki seems to bring up every other sentence. The only worthwhile character is the rebel Captain Edgar who is neither hero nor villain, but someone you really don’t want to cross. Some minor characters are semi-interesting whenever they show up as well, such as the whore assassin whose name I can’t remember ironically enough.
Hatsuki herself can be slightly shaped by your choices throughout the journey. None are more important than the first you receive that will massively impact the rest of the game. My first play-through only had one H scene, and that was at the very end which left me surprised with how tame it was. Well minus the bathroom scene, I get its a fetish thing but if you are not into those kind of things stay far away from the toilet. Once I finished the game and was instantly taken to New Game Plus, an option in the menu unlocked that showed all the H scenes, so I was obligated to find out why they never appeared. Well yep, that first choice affects your character quite a bit. It can turn her from a proud assassin to a broken shell of her former self. The erotic scenes are differently not your usual stuff and are pretty extreme, definitely something to be aware of for those buying it for that reason.
Also something to be aware of is that there is a free patch to uncensor the game. The English does no favors for the H bits and can be comical at times. There are quite a bit of them however, and there are also Japanese and Chinese subtitles which may be better though I can’t attest to that as I don’t understand either language. After that first choice, if you choose the H route you will be raped every time you lose a battle. Losing one is a pretty hard thing to do though once you finish the game, you are given the self-destruct ability to kill yourself during any skirmish. All of these things affect which of the five endings you’ll receive, and that does add some incentive to replay the game.
One of the things features I liked is that enemies are not random encounters. They appear on the map, and if you are skilled enough, they can all be avoided to play like an actual Assassin. You do have to face a boss at the end of each mission in a fair fight so not leveling up from slaying grunts can be a detriment to your mission. Losing a battle ultimately results in you getting scolded by your boss and are trained until you gain an extra level to better tackle the challenge next time. Losing to a boss, on the other hand, will result on your comrades finishing the job for you and you will get paid nothing for your troubles though the story will continue as usual.
Most missions just involve you going somewhere and chopping everything that gets in your way to bits, though in a few instances, you must use stealth. Simply put, it does not work well and being spotted by the AI that always swarms towards where you are, will result in starting at the beginning of the area again. It’s not fun though that only happens once, the rest of the few stealth missions you can kill whoever spots you without consequence. This is as perfect time as any to mention that there is no controller support. You will control the game entirely using the arrow and enter keys that while doable still feels like a gamepad would be superior. To make matters worse, the game is presented in an unchangeable 640x480p resolution so you can either play it in a tiny box or stretch it out to fullscreen, making it look far worse.
The sprite work is definitely a hit or miss. Some enemies such as the snakes look pretty mediocre while others such as the assassin or most bosses look rad as hell. Hatsuki’s appearance is in the eye of the beholder, and while utterly silly looking to some, she does look unique, and the H scenes are well drawn. If one is not too keen on the erotic bits, then it is an option to skip them altogether from the menu. Music is alright though one certain track is played so much during missions that the act of muting the game entirely is tempting. Killing Time is definitely a mixed bag overall, but it is not a bad game. It lasted me 7 hours for one playthrough with much more left to discover via making different choices. At under two dollars, it does feature a ton of content, that while unoriginal, is serviceable enough to keep you going.