Drawing circles has never been this cool.
Perking up a notch from my last disappointment, Time Hollow is like Steins;Gate–only tamer. And it’s on a handheld, not on a TV. You control Ethan Kairos, weilder of the Hollow Pen. This pen gives him the ability to freeze the present and draw a Hole into the past–giving him the ability to change it–
the repercussions of which also changes the present which transports him into some sort of parallel universe, basically, a different present. I told you, it’s like Steins;Gate. It muddles with your brain. Anyway, Ethan wakes up one day into a present where his parents have been missing for 12 years and everything jumps off from that. He gets into all these convoluted mysteries which range from missing friends to murder. On top of trying to save these very unfortunate people, he has to save his parents from going missing and eventually return to the present he knew.
So first things first, the visuals are awesome. The opening song rocks. The clock-like interface is splendid and the sounds are really cool. The game is not without wit too, what with the names of the characters representing numbers (i.e. Onegin, Twombly, Threevet, Fourer, Fivet, etc). Unlike Trace Memory, though, you won’t be doing any real-time exploring here. You just have a map of the neighborhood with the places you can go to, so epic adventure time is out of the question. As for the gameplay, it’s not exactly a puzzle game. You have to complete the information in your Flashbacks so you can get your pen to glow so you can change the past. Flashbacks are images that Ethan, and other Pen holders for that matter, gets when the past is changed by him or other holders. So it’s more of an investigative kind of thing than a puzzle game, per se. Weirdly enough, despite being text heavy, it wasn’t boring. Primarily because the story is really engaging, with all the twists and turns. If you have a game that’s messing around with time, you’re a horrible person if you get bored. Plus, the eye-candy’s just tops. I absolutely love the anime style drawing and the cut scenes (Kori!!).
Straying a bit into the philosophical road, Time Hollow, like Steins;Gate, show its players how messing around with time can lead to the worst of consequences. Plus, it comes with a dear price–in the game, at least. And how it can burden the one who remembers. Remember Okabe? God, if I were the one who saw Mayuri die for 24739274 times, I’d probably go crazy.
Anyhow, yey! Time Hollow! Get it if you want some of your time-bending crazy fix. It’s not mind-blowingly awesome but it does have its moments. It’s worth sinking a few hours of your time into.