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Game Info:

Timelie
Developed By: Urnique Studio
Published By: Urnique Studio, Milk Bottle Studio
Released: May 20, 2020
Available On: macOS, Windows
Genre: Puzzle; Stealth
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $17.99

Thank you Urnique Studio for sending us a review code!

I didn’t know what to expect with Timelie. With many games that I end up reviewing, I look up very little on it before I complete it or feel like I’ve played enough to give it a fair and honest review. Sometimes you can end up with a surprise or with a disappointment. With Timelie, fortunately, it is the former.

Featuring a 2.5D top-down view, your screen shows the entire layout of the level, as well as the character's position in it. The player controls an unnamed girl who is traveling through this fragmented world in search of something or someone. Developed by Urnique Studio, Timelie is a 3D game that has puzzle and stealth elements. The goal is to reach the end of the level without being spotted and within the given time limit. Timelie does something different from other puzzles, however. The player character has precognitive abilities and each level is played out in her mind before she takes action. From a gameplay perspective, this means you can stop time, fast forward, and rewind your actions to make sure you are making the most optimal decisions. The only controls available are keyboard and mouse. You’ll mostly control your character and the camera with the mouse, while rewinding, stopping, and fast forwarding are done with the keys such as A and D. After the correct decisions are made in practice, they are played out in real life. The scenes can be skipped, but some scenes do have a few surprises. Every action is repeated which can lead to some unintentionally funny moments.

The concept of this unique gameplay makes me feel like I’m editing a video. Seeing the fruits of your labor in action gives off a nice sense of accomplishment, especially since I’ve been gaining interest in video editing. People who know or like the satisfaction of a job well done may connect with the experience more than others. Only one enemy type exists, being a type of security bot, but said enemy has different patterns on each stage. Some will follow a set pattern and others will have a specific destination that they are going to in which you’ll have to beat them to the punch or distract them. Although I would have liked to see more enemy types, what Urnique Studio does with the one type available keeps things fresh enough.

Timelie
Highlights:

Strong Points: Plenty of cute and fulfilling moments; the “playback” feature works wells for a puzzle-stealth game
Weak Points: Some puzzles feel like you’re given barely enough time to complete; graphics and visuals aren’t very impressive
Moral Warnings: Supernatural abilities by the main character

Levels are divided into chapters, with five in total. Each chapter has its own set of gimmicks to prevent the experience from feeling repetitive. On one level, you’ll have to collect a glowing white cube to rebuild a broken path. In another level, you’ll have to collect these special purple cubes that reset time, adding a new obstacle and path that wasn’t there previously, but also a new pattern for the enemy to make. Some levels even have you controlling two characters at the same time. Controlling two characters at once is when things get spicy! Urnique Studio describes this as a “cooperative single-player experience” which can be a rather confusing statement, but it makes more sense the moment it is experienced. Both characters work in tandem, whether it comes to activating switches or distracting enemies. Going back to the playback feature and video comparison, you’ll even want one character to make certain actions and rewind to have the other character do another action. When time is rewound, any action you made them do previously will play out as you intended them to do. The only time they don’t is if you rewind and them make them do another action. I enjoyed the “co-op” experience, although some of the two-character levels can really feel like you’re cutting close for time as some puzzles require frame perfect decisions and no moment wasted.

With a narrativeless direction (meaning not one word of dialogue is uttered), Timelie’s story is up to the player’s interpretation. It can feel a bit confusing because there are some time shenanigans in the plot, and timey-wimey stuff is already confusing enough even with people in other media attempting their best to describe it. With no one there to tell you how things work, it’s up to the player to fill in the boxes themselves. I personally found the story to be enjoyable overall, although bittersweet.

Although I am left impressed with how Timelie functions and plays, two parts I'm not very fond of are the graphics and visuals. I don’t think they’re bad graphics, but I just found them to be basic. The character models are of a low polygon count, but the simplistic color pallets just make them feel like they are simply there. The visuals are also average for me as well. It’s strange as a shattered world aesthetic can really get the creative juices flowing and lead to a lot of interesting set pieces. Timelie doesn’t do much with it as the levels themselves start to blend together for me visually. In that regard, I was a bit disappointed.

Timelie
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay 17/20
Graphics 6/10
Sound 7/10
Stability 5/5
Controls 5/5

Morality Score - 97%
Violence 10/10
Language 10/10
Sexual Content 10/10
Occult/Supernatural 8.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical 10/10

The music set pieces fit for ambiance instead of a soundtrack. With a piano accompanying the background of the first few chapters, it does a good job to set the mood of an unknown and lonely setting but not much else beyond that. As the story tenses up in later chapters, the music uses more ominous sounds. There is a nice lyrical piece played during the credits. I don’t believe Timelie will be winning any rewards in the sound or music department, but it does its job.

When the main story is completed, free DLC is obtainable, named Hell Loop. Hell Loop is DLC purely meant for people who enjoy the gameplay components. People looking for more insight into story or worldbuilding elements will be left pretty disappointed. It is a set of 35 levels that push the concepts of the gameplay up to eleven. Timelie’s DLC levels make the hardest of the standard levels look like child’s play in comparison. If hard puzzles frustrate you, you’ll be ripping your hair out when confronted with these levels. The DLC is purely optional so the hardcore puzzle consumers will feel right at home with this one. As for casual players, the journey ends here.

In terms of moral concerns, there really isn’t much. Any supposedly violent action that could happen stops before the action is committed. When everything is interpreted to your own views and opinions, other “warnings” are subjective. The only objective thing I noticed is the supernatural elements. The unnamed girl uses telekinetic abilities to move and restore objects, and precognition itself can be viewed as supernatural.

Timelie manages to be a strong entry. With its clever mechanics and usage of the “cooperative features” and time mechanics, it is a good game for the price of admission. The mechanics are forgiving so even if there are tough moments, they can eventually be conquered. Hey, if you bang your head against a wall enough times, a crack will soon form! Anyways, with the experience being about a five to ten-hour ride with the DLC doubling that time, puzzle and stealth lovers will see little wrong with it. The lack of moral concerns also makes it pretty family-friendly; however, keep in mind that some fairly difficult puzzles (especially when accounting for the DLC) may possibly be too stressful for an especially younger individual.

About the Author

Cinque Pierre

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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