Braid and LIMBO are two outstanding indie games that have demonstrated fantastic art styles combined with new and complex gameplay in the puzzle genre. But what happens when you put those two games together? You get Chronology.
Chronology is a platform-adventure game about time travelling, puzzle solving and a friendship between an Old Inventor and a Snail. The Inventor wakes up in a destroyed and miserable world, with lost memories about the events that lead up to this point and even who he is. Upon finding a time travelling device, he begins to remember that the reason the world is in turmoil and with the help of a snail it’s up to them to change the course of history.
As stated previously, the game looks and feels like a combination of Braid and LIMBO with its own sprinkle of magic. The camera angle and the separation of the foreground and background make it look similar to LIMBO, and the mechanics of time manipulation to solve puzzles remind me of Braid, but in a pretty different way. Whereas Braid had enemies to defeat and use in puzzles, Chronology uses AI as another obstacle to surpass, along with many interactable objects and time travelling to make things pretty confusing at times. The Inventor has the ability to change time to the future or the past, changing the surrounding and state of objects. If he is holding an object, he can take it through time and place it in that timeline to be used to advance, such as planting a tree in the past and climbing the fully grown tree in the future. He also has the ability to call the Snail to his exact location (depending on the type of platform) which is extremely useful, as you can probably imagine, snails are slow as heck! The Snail can move along walls and ceilings, and with the ability of jumping on its shell as the Inventor, it creates a whole new way to traverse the world. The Snail also has the ability to freeze time, allowing the Inventor to jump onto a moving platform that was moving too fast for example. This combination of gameplay mechanics works great and creates some really interesting puzzles that are incredibly satisfactory to overcome.
Although the story is short, maybe only 1 hour 30 minutes to finish on a good run, the way it is told through the characters fantastic voice acting and the concept art cutscenes creates a wonderful atmosphere in the game while you learn about the world and the characters. It’s beautifully told and leaves you wanting to learn more and more the longer you play. The music and sound design also blends well giving you a real separation of the past and future and can change the feel of a situation in seconds. And I can’t forget to mention the puns… oh those puns. If you enjoy puns, this game is FULL of them.
As great as the story and gameplay are, the strongest aspect of Chronology has to be the amazing graphics. Everything has it’s own powerful feel to it with every detail taken into consideration making huge creatures and contraptions very impressive. The animations are smooth and what I love about these games is that it doesn’t matter if you have a gaming PC or not it’s almost guaranteed to work flawlessly. The transition from the past to the future, through a black and white phase, is seamless and really does give you the sense that time has passed dramatically. We see more and more of these beautiful indie games and each one seems to get more impressive year by year, and Chronology is one of those, setting the standard for 2D art and animation.
The only truly negative thing I can say about the game is that it was too short, I yearn for more. Everything else ticked the right boxes, a fun, beautiful and unique game that can be a real challenge at times, as I got stuck on one puzzle for at least 20 minutes, which yes, is frustrating, but once you figure it out it’s the most satisfying feeling. If you’re looking for a game to challenge your mind and give you that satisfaction that games like LIMBO, Braid or even Portal offer, then I would recommend picking this one up from Steam.
Check out the soundtrack here: