Chronology (PC) Review
All of the trailers for Chronology look fun and interesting; they are about a whimsical old man that slips between the present and a brown and broken future, solving platform type puzzles as he works his way through a seemingly water-colored world. Reality ended up making this veer in a different direction as the puzzles feel less like something from Braid and more like something from Back to the Future on the NES. Random additions to gameplay later on started to feel shoe horned in instead of elegantly designed from the start, unlike some of the first handful of thoughtful puzzles the game has.
The first chunk that feels tacked on is the young slug companion that can both slow time and be used as a platform. Oddly it isn’t a problem with the narrative, as the game seems to have a decent grasp on the story that it wants to tell, the problem instead is with the immersion as added a partner not only complicates things unnecessarily, but also only serves to add additional powers that could have been perfectly suited on the main character. Honestly the only purpose the snail seems to add is taking away the much needed double jump from the main character.
The only real saving grace is the world design as it feels almost like a living and breathing place despite the lacking puzzles. Switching between the two worlds can feel inspired at times as the colors seem to drip from one and become sponged off the other. The simple interaction with the art itself is almost worth the price of admission, if it wasn’t tied to annoying roadblocks that slowed the progression of simply experiencing more at any given time.
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The problem quickly becomes not that Chronology is bad, just that it doesn’t do enough to distinguish itself from the ever growing number of other indie game out there. Some of the game mechanics are nice and neat, but it always seems like they are never really used in interesting enough ways to separate itself from any of the other Braid clones on the market. When Chronology puts its best foot forward it really does seem to shine, the problem is that it seems to shine so rarely that it mainly just falls back into obscurity with everything else.