I’m sure I’ve developed a reputation now for my love of indie games with solid underlying pieces; somehow, I keep picking up great titles that, for whatever reason, don’t seem to get as much attention as others. The latest of these is Chronology, a puzzle-platformer that takes an old inventor, an intriguing companion, and a healthy dose of temporal manipulation and dresses it up in a sharp, charming aesthetic. With solid art design, crisp controls, and some outside-the-box tools, there’s a lot to love about this simple yet pleasing title.
The game begins with a look back at the end of civilization. Our intrepid inventor and his unnamed mentor had been making incredible progress in scientific alchemy, bringing an age of prosperity to the Metropolis before something went horribly wrong, and it all fell to pieces. Chronology takes place both in the post-catastrophic world and the simply-labelled “Before”, making use of the inventor’s own creation – a pocket watch time machine. Along the way, he meets an odd character – a snail who can, for reasons not made clear early on, stop time entirely. Armed with these two powers, the pair set off to set right the wrongs of the past and prevent the destruction of the city they once called home.
The controls are very easy to get a handle on, and you can alternate which of the two you’re controlling as appropriate to the task at hand. The snail’s ability to cling to walls and ceilings offers great mobility and a mobile platform, while the inventor retains sole propriety of jumping and activating switches or other environmental pieces. Chronology’s puzzles rely on the clever use of each character, sometimes in ways unique to the situation, utilizing both their functional differences and their unique time-warping skills.
The one negative thing that I could say about Chronology is that the story is pretty bare-bones and formulaic. While it’s a fun diversion, there’s only an illusion of depth and meaning. That’s not to be entirely disparaging, as there’s still plenty of entertainment here, but I think it could really benefit from a more detailed, interesting plot beyond what’s presented. There’s a somewhat open ending that could leave room for more stories featuring the wizened old man and his curious friend, but as it stands, the brevity and simplicity of it does keep things a bit too simple for my preferences. Still, for a low asking price of $9.99 on Steam, I think it’s easily worth picking up as a quick, enjoyable romp with some fresh twists to its puzzle mechanisms.
[+Cute, colourful graphics] [+Responsive, easily learned controls] [+Creative puzzle-solving] [-Lacking story depth] [-A bit too short to leave an impact]