By Michael Fontanini / May 28th, 2019
|Developer||Bedtime Digital Games|
|Publisher||Bedtime Digital Games|
|Release Date||May 12th, 2014|
|Platform||PC (Steam), Android, iOS, Windows Phone,|
You are an old inventor who played a role in the destruction of the world, because you allowed it to happen. After finding your special timepiece, you must use it to jump through time and make things right in the world of Chronology. Can you overcome the obstacles in your way to undo the mistakes of the past?
In the past, the old inventor and his former mentor researched using a vapor from the Earth for energy. A series of events transpired that lead to the undoing of the world, and this sets the stage for the game. Chronology is a simple puzzle platforming adventure. Each level begins with a short cut scene that fills in a little bit more of the game’s story. There are also bits of dialog that happen in some levels at certain points. All of it is voice acted.
Your timepiece allows you to jump back and forth in time, between the present and the past (just before the world was destroyed). Most of the puzzles in Chronology are pretty simple. They involve moving objects to give yourself something to jump on, switching between time periods, freezing time, finding and using objects and flipping switches for the most part. Sometimes you will need to switch between time periods in mid jump to land on a platform in the other time period to advance in the level.
Early on, you will meet an unusual side kick. He is a large snail with a childish voice, and you can switch control between him and the old inventor. You can use him as a platform to reach a higher ledge by jumping on his shell. He can also crawl on vertical surfaces, so you can use him as a platform on a wall. Furthermore, he has a special ability of his own. While the old man can jump between past and present, the snail has the ability to freeze time. This is needed for some moving platform sections, or crushers that move too fast to get through without freezing time. The story does explain later on how this giant snail came to be, but I won’t spoil it. The old man can also whistle to make the snail teleport to him. This is required when you leave him behind after using him to help you get through a puzzle and there is no way for him to follow you through it. It would be tedious having to constantly move him yourself to keep him caught up with you.
The old man is a bit of a jerk towards the snail in their dialog a couple of times, though later in the game they get along better. This doesn’t really have any impact on the story, other than that there is one point very early on where the old man goes off on his own after being mean to the snail. He quickly reaches an impasse, and the snail returns to help you again for essentially the rest of the game. His time stop ability is essential for certain puzzles.
I said earlier that most of the puzzles are pretty simple. However, there are a few (particularly in the late game) that will make you go “How the heck was I supposed to figure that out?” One late game puzzle has a red headed guy in the future drop a banana. You have to take it to the past and get his childhood self to trip on it and hurt his leg. Then go back to the future and take the cane he now has and use it to solve the puzzle just ahead. Going back in time and hurting a kid just so he will have a cane in the future for you to steal, how heroic! Aside from that, the collision can be dodgy at times when switching between time periods in mid jump, especially if you’re too close to the edge of the platform you’re trying to land on. For the most part it works well though.
Chronology has a charming art style, with beautiful hand drawn graphics. The soundtrack adds a nice ambiance to the game and sets a mood of regret, especially at the start. The voice acting is okay, but isn’t convincing sometimes. The best example might be in the intro dialog before the first level appears. He tells you a little of his story and how he allowed this fate to befall the world. The thing is, his words tell of regret, but you don’t hear it in his voice. The acting is kind of flat there. The rest of the game’s dialog is a bit better. The only other issue with it is that on occasion, the dialog between him and his snail friend doesn’t really feel natural. That’s more a problem with the writing than voice acting, though.
Chronology is a charming little indie game. The story is not as engaging as it could be, though. It is also a very short adventure, and there are no achievements or collectibles either. As a result of these things, there is very little replayability here, so it will likely be a game you’ll play once and not touch again for a long time if at all. How short is it you ask? You can beat it in 2 or 3 hours depending on how long you get stuck on certain puzzles and whether you choose to consult the internet for solutions to them. I’ve spent somewhere between 3 and 4 hours in the world of Chronology, because the first time I played it, I got most of the way through it and got stuck. When I picked it up again a day or two later I played it from the beginning. You don’t have to, though. There is a chapter select screen, so you can start at any chapter you’ve unlocked so far. Chronology is available on Steam for $4.99, and its price is low since it has likely dropped considering that it came out in 2014. Though it has its flaws, I enjoyed my short time with the game. Can you jump through time and overcome all obstacles in your way to stop your mentor from making a terrible mistake?
Review copy provided by publisher.
Bedtime Digitial GamesChronologySteam