sun 22/05/2022

Chronology | reviews, news & interviews



Time travelling platform games seem to be everywhere and when these days...

'Chronology': Time-bending platform puzzling... with a snail?!

It's time to talk about time travel. The fourth dimension, as time is sometimes called, represents fertile ground for videogames designers. After all, the shift from side-scrolling two-dimensions (move left, right, jump up, fall down) to three was a huge leap.

Three dimensional playing fields enabled first-person perspectives, freeroaming adventure and more. Adding a fourth dimension, letting you transform the game around your actions, can be an exciting way to turn gaming on its head. The independent hit Braid proved that. Unfortunately now every game that dabbles with time travel has to walk in its shadow.

Chronology - time-travelling platform puzzler like BraidBraid deconstructs traditional videogame narratives (rescue the princess from a monster), tropes (jump on an enemy's head to beat them) and structures to create an intertwined, artistic experience that approaches videogame linearity with the cavalier invention Memento applied to film flashbacks.

Chronology, sadly, is not Braid. It's the cutesy story of an inventor who wakes, post-apocalypse, to realise his inventions with his mentor are responsible. Luckily enough, one of his remaining inventions can turn back time to before the disaster – even mid-jump. Resulting in a series of platform-jumping puzzles where you have to jump from the future and land in the past, or vice versa, jumping to and from blocks, hillocks or beams that are wrecked in the future, or not built in the past. And all rendered in a side-scrolling visual style reminiscent of Studio Ghibli anime.

Chronology - time-travelling platform puzzler like BraidAlong the way, the inventor meets a snail who can teleport to the inventor's side, pause time and crawl up walls. This slithering McGuffin sticks out like a major continuity mistake – it's only there to enable new puzzles. That's Chronology's major stumble. Unlike Braid, the gameplay and narrative do not make sense of each other.

On top of that, the puzzles rapidly settle into fairly predictable patterns. A few of the bigger setpieces challenge the brain muscles, but most gamers will rattle through most without much thought.

That's not to say Chronology isn't fun – it is. It's just a mildly-taxing brain workout with some oddly disguised gastropod design decisions doesn't stand up against the time-travelling artwork that is Braid.

You have to jump from the future and land in the past


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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