By Michael Fontanini / December 12th, 2019
|Title||Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers|
|Release Date||October 22nd, 2019|
|Platform||Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4|
|Age Rating||ESRB: Everyone 10+|
In Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers, it all starts on New Year’s Eve in 1999 in the town of Clocknee. Humans and machines have coexisted in harmony in this sleepy town for quite some time. As the story begins, Sherry’s father is once again not home. In being late, he has broken his promise to be there yet again, leaving young Sherry Aldeis upset. To calm her daughter, Aria suggests they should go see the fireworks. So they head out into the center of town and begin to watch. As the clock tower strikes midnight, fireworks throw splashes of color into the dark sky around the towers. As Sherry and her mother watch, something terrible happens! Time suddenly stops, freezing everyone but Sherry and her mother in their tracks. The fireworks’ bursts of color now hang motionless above the towers of Save The Queen (a mall).
Sherry and her mother quickly end up separated as rogue machines attack the town. Scared, Sherry makes her way back home to find her mother, but returns instead to an empty house. There she discovers a hidden passage in her father’s study. Following it into the basement, she finds a robot that awakens before her. His name is Isaac. He is a kind robot who will be a crucial sidekick in the journey to come. They quickly head back out in search of Aria, but instead stumble across Sherry’s friend, Pegreo Bachfaren, a fearful nerd. He too has, for some reason, been spared becoming a statue, frozen in time by the cataclysm. Together they must set out on an emotional quest to find out why they weren’t frozen, discover what caused the cataclysm, why so many machines have gone rogue, and uncover Isaac’s origins. Along the way, Sherry may yet regain faith in her missing father, as the threads of time unwind and the truth untangles. Can Sherry and her friends take on the cruel hand of fate and have any hope of success?
Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers is an RPG with a touching little story that’s certainly deeper than you might expect. You’ll encounter rogue machines in the world who will give chase if they see you. If you sneak up behind one and run into it, you get to go first in battle. If they catch you, then the rogue machines get the first turn in battle. Each character has a number of skills that unlock as you level up. They range from powerful attacks, to healing, to adding buffs like higher attack/defense or removing buffs like confusion. Your team also gets a full heal when they level up.
Each skill has a rank from one to five stars. Once the option unlocks, they can be upgraded in the menu using special items you find from defeating enemies, like Wisdom Shards. You’ll want to be strategic about how you upgrade each character, as these items are not the most common thing ever. You won’t have enough to fully upgrade everyone by the end of the game, though there is nothing stopping you from farming as many as you want if you’re willing to put in the time to do it.
Sherry and her friends can stop at the Blossom Cafe to buy things ranging from healing items, like food and health packs, to stat boosters. The Blossom Cafe is run by her grandmother, or at least it was before the cataclysm. Items are also sometimes dropped by defeated enemies.
You may have noticed the clothing tab in the previous screenshot. As you progress in the game, more clothing items will become available. You can equip them on your characters for better defense. Each character also can equip one charm that can give them one of many buffs, like increased max health or resistance to fire, ice, or electricity. These clothing items do not affect character appearance. However, unlike the other characters, Sherry can get special cosmetic-only outfits that change her appearance. These are completely separate from equipable clothing items. You’ll sometimes see a sparkle on the ground around town. If you interact with it as any character, you’ll get a Water Orb. You can use these by talking to a machine (a clothing iron) in Sherry’s bedroom to unlock more cosmetic outfits for her. That machine also allows her to change which outfit she is wearing.
You can also upgrade your trusty robot sidekick, Isaac, at Bachfaren Collectibles. This workshop was run by Pegreo’s father, who could use materials you’ve collected to craft gears (bronze, silver, or gold). However, this curious robot in the screenshot above now runs the workshop. The gears you craft here can be installed in Isaac’s many slots to improve his stats. Better gears of course boost them more. There is also a special fourth type of gear, called a skill gear. These can only be installed in special skill slots to unlock a skill for whichever form you install it in. We’ll get to Isaac’s special forms in a second.
As you progress in the adventure, Isaac not only gains a part that lets the team travel through time at certain points, but he also gains the ability to transform into new forms at will during battle. There are five unlockable forms that let him transform into a fire fighter, an outlaw, a samurai, and more. Each form has its own set of upgrades and skills it can use.
Best of all, Isaac can transform at will during his turn in battle. He can also then use a skill in that same turn. It should be noted that unlike all the human characters, Isaac cannot use items in battle at all. Also unlike other characters, if he dies you lose the fight and will have the option to start over. There are of course items and skills that can revive fallen human characters, though.
Eventually you’ll make some new friends. At that point, you also gain an option in the menu that lets you select which three will take part in battles. All characters level up whether they are in battles or not. There is also a nice little touch while exploring. You can change which character you control as you explore the town. So you don’t have to always run around as Sherry if you’d rather control Pegreo or someone else. You cannot explore as Isaac for some reason, though.
The story in Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers is well done and much deeper than you might expect given the graphical style. The game uses a charming, cartoony art style that fits with its youthful story, but also doesn’t feel out of place at all during the solemn parts of the story. The graphics are slightly blurry during cutscenes, though. As the adventure continues, the group will learn more and more about the events that have transpired. They will make new friends, like the eccentric Dr. Bagdale Cheatstein, and some new sidekicks from other time periods. What are their connections to the main protagonists, though? Sherry and her friends will uncover what happened, and why the frozen townspeople have disappeared. Isaac’s backstory will be discovered, and Sherry will learn about her missing father. They will they travel back and forth in time to past and future alike.
The gameplay is of a standard but fairly simple RPG. It’s also fairly easy, though the difficulty ramps up at the end. The camera can be annoying on occasion, but overall I experienced no major issues with the game. My team had maxed out on level ups hours before I finished the game, which is odd but again just a minor thing. However, that does ensure that the last parts of the game will have some challenge. Overall, this is definitely a charming and fun little game.
The music track is quite well done, from the melancholic main theme to the bombastic battle music. Boss fights have some different music tracks of their own. Some players may not like it that all normal battles in the whole game use the same battle music. However, I never got tired of hearing the main battle theme, because it’s pretty good. The soundtrack is an emotional one that conveys the joy of triumph and the somber atmosphere of the sad moments very well. The sound effects are also nicely done.
Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers is a great little game. As you progress in the adventure, you’ll unlock more random backgrounds for the startup menu screen, and uncover the origins of the mysterious calamity that has stricken the town of Clocknee. There is no New Game Plus mode or anything like that, though. I’d say that this game doesn’t have the most replay value in the world. However, Isaac’s various forms do provide some, as you can choose to rely on different forms on each playthrough. You can also build out the skills on your team a bit differently in each game. Finding all of the Water Orbs for unlocking Sherry’s cosmetic outfits will also take you some time. I missed a fair few of them, it seems.
I spent just shy of 25 hours in the sleepy town of Clocknee, and I loved it. The developers put a lot of love into this game. The story is touching, and makes up for the minor flaws in the game. The characters are endearing and the emotional soundtrack breaths depth into the world and its characters. It is a story of youth, friendship, regret, pain, love, and triumph. There may be some terrible prices to be paid, but all is not lost yet. Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers is available on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $39.99. Just don’t expect it to have the difficulty, scope or depth of something like Final Fantasy. In my opinion, this game is a bit of a hidden gem in the Nintendo Switch library (and it’s also on PlayStation 4). Can you untangle the ravaged timeline of Clocknee to undo the terrible wrath of fate?
Review copy provided by publisher.
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