Ah the timeless tale of an old time traveling inventor and his time-halting, overly large snail buddy. A classic I know. Man I love a good platformer. Chronology has added a few more elements to the mix that put a sweet spin on puzzle platformers.
As the story goes, an inventor (your character) and an alchemist (not you) go and build this steam powered machine that will eventually be abused and destroy civilization as we know it. The inventor awakes to a broken world, he finds his time traveling device, ends up befriending a giant snail and embarks on a quest to right his wrong.
While Chronology may come off as “kiddy” or “cutesy”, I will easily avoid using words like that to describe this game. Charming fits awkwardly well since I really don’t like using words like that to describe videogames. I usually prefer words like “cool” or “holy-crap amazing”. While that may seem like a slight, consider movies like the Shawshank Redemption as compared to say The Expendables and you’ll understand. That is a bit extreme, but it’s an exaggeration for effect. You like both, but they are in different categories while both are indeed movies. The developers wanted to tell a story with this game and they do that very well as it does not feel like a game with a story duct taped to it like some other games *cough*modern FPSs*cough*. It’s nice to play a game with a genuine story behind it again.
Chronology does puzzle-platforming well too. The jumping leaves a little something to be desired at first. It just takes some getting used to and once you figure the physics out, you’ll be jumping and time warping like a champ. Most of the jumps seem “just so” and you’ll have to be careful when and where you take your leap of faith. What really messed me up are the controls themselves. I couldn’t remap the keys and while the setup displayed on the screen seemed optimal, that’s not what was sent to my gamepad. I eventually got used to it, but man I did a lot of jumping off stuff when I meant to time warp. I tried the keyboard controls, but I would have mapped them differently than what they chose. It worked like they said, but I would have stuck with WASD movement. I can’t remember the last time I played with the directional keys other than a vague memory of Unreal Tournament.
The puzzles are what really sold me on Chronology. There was only one puzzle that had me considering that I had found some form of game breaking bug and I should find some way of reporting it to them. “I can’t believe they didn’t see this one!” I thought to myself. There it was though. The solution was right in front of me and had it been a snake… well you know the saying. The puzzles are very well thought out and with both of the characters having different time-altering powers, they can get pretty complex. A lot of the big puzzles will have you going back and forth through time while having you do some stop-time jumps as well. My issue here is the lack of them. By the end of the game I just wanted more. More like the soon-to-be spoiled puzzle below. I couldn’t believe what it had me do. Normally I don’t like that kind of thing, but in the context of the Chronology’s world… I guess it’s fine. The point still stands, I wasn’t done playing when the credits started to scroll.