Imagine turning on your DS and watching the opening credits to an anime. Well, that’s what you get every time you boot up Time Hollow. Not only does it have a gorgeously animated cinematic that plays every time you want to play, but it also has an opening theme song with a person singing. How many games can boast of that? And on top of that, I really like the song. The game itself is like playing an anime or manga. You control where the character goes and initiate dialogue with some puzzle solving mixed in, but for the most part the game is like reading a good mystery with beautiful pictures. I can’t stop talking about how much I love the art in this game. I’m a huge fan of anime in general but I really like the way it feels in Time Hollow. The character’s emotions change correctly, none of this standing there smiling at you while saying the world is ending that we saw so much of in the earlier generations of games. Periodically, the main character will speak in an audio clip, mostly to tell you that you’re doing it right….not quite in those words.
I bet by now you’re wondering why its called Time Hollow. Well, it turns out that Ethan Kairos, the main character of Time Hollow, is one of a line of people capable of manipulating time itself using a device called the Hollow Pen. Neat, huh? Needless to say, this makes for a confusing plot line. Happily, unlike some such games, Ethan is just as confused as the player is as you work your way through the story. But my favorite part of Time Hollow is the way they answered the question of paradox. At one point in the story, you go to get an item you read about in a news paper article. You can see it while you’re manipulating time, but after you close the time hole, Ethan is back where he was before going to get the item because the news article didn’t talk about it so he didn’t go to get it. But he remembers going to get it and what it was because he can manipulate time. And the best part, he doesn’t have it. Because of him going to get it from the past, the item ceased it exist because he couldn’t have known to go get it.
My major complaints about Time Hollow are that the character names are very strange and that when you get stuck on a puzzle, you just have to brute force your way through or look up the solution because there is only one possible way to do everything. So, to show you how ridiculous these character names are here are some last names: Onegin, Twombly, Threet, Fourier. See a theme yet? And as for those puzzles. I have frequently gotten stuck on puzzles during the course of this game, I’ve actually been stuck on one for the last few hours. This is just one of those point and click adventures where if you don’t find the elusive widget, you won’t be able to progress. Its alright though, because the story is completely worth the widget hunt and that isn’t normally the case.
And the rating. For an excellent story line, character development and art offset by difficult game play with a sometimes irritating mechanic, I give Time Hollow 3 out of 5 hearts. And by the way, still love the intro theme.