Time travel is one of the most difficult things to get right in a game or movie. It's such a broad concept with so many caveats, that it's easy to go overboard and find yourself full of plot holes or whacky ideas. The other side of the spectrum is to just play it safe and throw in a rewind mechanic, but that's no fun.
Still Time for the PS4 comes to the table with some genuinely unique ideas about time travel in gaming. Does it do enough to make the mechanic feel fresh again, or does this concept run out of time before it's finished?
Multiple Timelines, One Man
Still Time bills itself as a game about time travel and temporal physics. The premise involves solving over 40 puzzles across various areas by manipulating time and using other versions of yourself to complete otherwise impossible tasks.
The story in Still Time is steeped in mystery. From the moment you begin, you're going to be confused. You wake up with no knowledge of where you are or why you're here, only to be given directions from what seems to be another version of yourself.
While one version of the main character seems to be intent on helping you escape, the other seems to have more sinister plans in mind. It's evident that you're working with multiple timelines in this plot, which makes it a very intriguing tale.
I'm always up for a good time travel story, and while Still Time did manage to scratch that itch somewhat, I would have loved to see more development over the course of the game, if only because the premise was extremely interesting.
You don't get story developments consistently, instead, they come at milestones throughout the adventure, but the game does serve up new twists and turn as you go on. As with many puzzle games, the focus here is on the gameplay.
Puzzle Solving With Help From Me, Myself, and I
Still Time manages to secure its own unique puzzle mechanic by changing up how we think about time travel puzzles in games. While other titles have you manipulating time and rewind the world around you, rewinding time in Still Time actually places you in a different timeline entirely.
Stick with me. Let's say you hit a switch that opens a door on the other side of the room. Great, except the door, will only stay open for about half a second. You can't make that distance in time, so what do you do?
Still Time's answer involves running across to the closed door and then rewinding time. Your character will remain in place at the timeline above you goes backward. When you've finished rewinding, another version of yourself in bright red clothing suddenly appears to follow the actions of your past timeline.
When red hits the switch, you step on through before the door shuts. This is a very simple example of the mechanics at play, but Still Time's take on temporal physics and time travel means that when you stand in the approrpriate spaces (where the walls are silver), you can rewind time all around you without manipulating yourself.
The designated zones for rewinding time results in a structure that helps you understand each room and the puzzle or puzzles within. You can't just rewind time anywhere, it has to be in front of these silver panels.
Another helpful mechanic, are the timelines displayed at the top of the screen. Each one is a different color to reflect which version of yourself it represents. Your other versions will be dressed in colors like red, blue, or green to designate which timeline they belong to.
Notches in the timelines will show you when actions occur, furthering assisting in your planning as you try to unravel the game's challenges. While it starts out fairly simple, Still Time quickly becomes a mind-boggling puzzle game.
Careful planning is not only recommended, it's required for some of these situations. You'll need to plan out events well in advance so that each timeline and version of yourself acts at the appropriate moment to create the path forward.
Furthermore, the other versions of yourself need to survive the ordeal. You can't sacrifice blue just because he looks at you funny. In situations where this happens, you can quickly reset the room you're in by entering the pause menu.
Absolute failure like this wasn't too often for me, Instead, I usually ended up messing up a timeline and screwing up the entire chain reaction of events.
Despite some frustration from misplanning my timelines, I can't deny that Still Time brings a unique mechanic to the time travel genre. While I would have liked more mechanics and more evolution of the concept across the game's puzzles, the foundation here is strong.
An Interesting Mix of 2D and 3D Graphics
The syle of Still Time represents classic pixel art, but it manages to stand out by blending both 2D and 3D with what creator, Alan Zucconi describes as "shader magic." It's certainly an excellent artistic choice.
Thanks to this aesthetic choice, the otherwise nondescript environments actually pop with a bit of depth and color. The animations are also smooth. There's no denying the beauty of watching your little time travel clones moving like pre-ordained parts in some great machine of your design.
Puzzle gamers will find a lot to love in Still Time, as it adds a fresh new mechanic to time travel gameplay. You'll find a pretty good story tying it all together as well. For the low price of entry and cross-buy support, you should absolutely give this game your time.
Final Score: 8.0/10
A Copy of Still Time was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 9/14/17