Going Back In Time!
Posted 4 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
How cool would it be to have the ability to send yourself a message in the past to change the present? I know for a fact that I would send a message to myself to place all my savings on the 2004 Boston Red Sox after they went down 3-0 to the Yankees. Others would go back to prevent a mistake or warn someone of an upcoming event or danger. In Time Hollow, you have the chance to fix the past and help the ones you love. It sounds like a great concept, but how does it translate in the videogame world?
In Time Hollow, you play as Ethan Kairos, a young high school student who has a fascination for clocks. On the eve of his birthday, he has a terrible nightmare and when he wakes up, he is shocked to discover his world is different. Rather than waking up to his parent’s wishing him a happy birthday, he finds his uncle sitting at the breakfast table and discovers that his parents mysteriously disappeared when Ethan was five years old.
At the same time of this shocking discovery, he also finds a weird pen attached to his lovable cat, Sox. The pen contains a message telling him that with this pen, called the Hollow Pen, he can change the past and hopefully bring back his family. Now as Ethan, you must gather clues and try to bring your parents back.
Early on in the game, an accident occurs to a girl riding her bicycle when a refrigerator falls off a truck and lands on her. While you manage to figure out the best time to remove the key from the bike, thus forcing her to walk home, the contents from the truck still fall injuring someone else. In order to prevent the contents from falling off, you will need to visit the scene of the accident and find where the truck was to tie the loose rope and prevent the content from ever falling. There are quite a few events like this and you will have to attempt the same action a few times before the best result occurs. You can’t jump ahead and prevent everything at once, so it might bother some people who will clue in right away as to what needs to be done.
The game’s story is very engaging and offers a lot of twists and turns. Those who enjoy adventure games, like Hotel Dusk, won’t feel out of place. The actions you perform do take a back seat to the story and you will spend a good amount of time watching rather than playing. Thankfully, with everything that is going on, the story is engaging and interesting enough that you will want to see how the story concludes.
While the Hollow Pen is a great item, it isn’t used as much as it should have been. You can’t just go to any location and start changing things, as the pen reacts only when certain criteria are met. This might upset some who are hoping that the game uses the main feature more frequently. Some might not benefit from the game’s relative ease. Ethan will often tell you what you need to do, rather than you discovering it on your own. Those who can figure out the puzzles quickly, or who want a challenge, will get bored with this assistance.
Graphics and Sound
The game doesn’t have much to discuss in terms of graphics. Outside of the few cut-scenes, which are well done, the actions on the screen are motionless. Characters don’t move and when a character is no longer a part of a scene, they simply disappear. It would have been nice for more interaction, but this is standard fare for adventure games. The city you live in does have a lot of different locations that you will visit and thankfully they all drawn really well. The character models are also very well drawn and those who enjoy Anime will be right at home.
Ethan and a few of the other characters have speech, but they typical only talk at certain points in the game. You will hear his voice during flashback confirmations and when you use the hollow pen, but most other dialogue is done through text. The few cut-scenes available all contain speech and all the voice actors do their jobs quite well. The game’s music is a mixed bag that will eventually get on your nerves. It does work for this type of game, but there is a lot of repetition. After going through the story for more than six hours, you’ll probably turn down the volume except during the cut-scenes.
Time Hollow is a good length for a portable title. Thanks to the game’s six main chapters and a prologue and epilogue, it should take you around 6-8 hours to complete. Your length with the game will vary depending on how much time you spend talking to people or if you get stuck at certain points. Once the game is done, outside of a second play-through which can reveal the true ending, you won’t have much of a reason to play the game an additional time. A branching story or even multiple endings would have been perfect for this game. You can’t really fail or lose the game; you will only get stuck at certain points and finding the correct answer only requires you to ask the right person a question. The game does have a restriction on the amount of times you can use the Hollow Pen to dig, but it resets after each chapter and you’ll probably only make a mistake once or twice while playing.
If you enjoy story-based adventure games, you will really enjoy Time Hollow. There are plenty of twists and surprises along the way that you will want to see how it ends. The game is relatively easy but the hand-holding will disappoint the older crowd who will look for a challenge. If Time Hollow manages to sell a good amount of copies, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it becoming a full-fledged franchise. The concept is there and with some more tweaking, the possibilities for future titles are endless.
+ Plenty of twists
+ Hollow Pen is an interesting concept
+ Great cut-scenes
- Extremely easy
- More watching rather than playing
- Not enough use of the Hollow Pen
- Why is it rated ’T’?
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Release Date : 2008/09/23
System : Nintendo DS
Publisher : Konami
Developer : Konami
Category : Adventure
ESRB : T
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