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Time Hollow Review

Genres: Adventure All
Year of Release: 2008
Developer: Tenky
Publisher: Konami
Review Date: 1-4-2009
Review Platform: DS
Review Region: EU Available In EU
Est Playtime: 8+ hours
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Review By: Bradley Beeck

Time Hollow centers around Ethan Kairos and the Hollow Pen which he inherits on his 17th birthday. The Pen allows Ethan to open portals to points in time so he can manipulate events on the other side. Using this ability Ethan sets out to restore the lives of his parents and friends which have been altered following a strange dream.

time_hollow009Time Hollow is a linear point and click adventure game but thereís not a lot of item collecting to do. Itís mostly just talking to people trying to figure out when and where an event happened so you can change the outcome. Being linear means that the game is simplistic and youíre incredibly unlikely to die or fail. You canít open a time portal where ever you want and the only way you can die is when you drain too much energy by using the Hollow Pen. Each use, known as a digging, uses your characterís own life force - Chronos. More Chronos are found by Ethanís pet cat Sox and you only need to wander around town to find him.

time_hollow016With games of this type itís all about the story and Time Hollowís story is complex and reasonably good. Its major problem is that it doesnít take the time at the start of the game to introduce the characters in-depth. When youíre going to spend the entire game messing with these characters lives you need to care about them, and I donít feel that the game did that for me. The only character I really cared about was Kori and sheís not present substantially until the last half of the game. Itís no coincidence that this section of the game had the most memorable moments. One particular aspect of the story that annoyed me was when there was a rapid succession of changes, caused by the gameís villain. Youíve just spent the last few hours piecing things together in a favourable way and it all gets thrown out the window. This was coupled with the fact that you could have easily killed said villain who really deserves it. Heís a total psycho Ė a serial murderer. While I did say the story is complex itís relatively easy to follow and itís not as complicated as the cases in Phoenix Wright despite the time altering aspect.

time_hollow028As with all point and click style games thereís a fair amount of time spent searching around for something to trigger. Sometimes the game needlessly delays progression, such as when it makes the player wait for the librarian or when it makes them go someplace first when itís obvious you need to go somewhere else. Thereís only one point in the game that had me stuck and that was trying to find some pliers. Each scene allows you shift the perspective a little bit and the graphics are 2D so what happens is the layered backgrounds slide past each other. The aforementioned pliers were hidden in this way behind a brick wall. The game is linear but occasionally there are dialogue options. Unfortunately each of these options must be selected and sometimes, very strangely, multiple times with each repetition revealing new information.

time_hollow004The graphics are entirely 2D with limited animation and at most the characterís blink and open their mouth. The characterís poses are done better than the first Trauma Center game but not the second. Along with the standard game animation thereís a few anime quality cutscenes, mainly at the start and end of the game. Both of these are smoother and more detailed than the cutscenes in Professor Layton and the Curious Village. However compression artifacts might more noticeable. The scene backgrounds, the skies in particular, and the flashback sequences were the two best aspects of the graphics. The gameís music is nice overall but the worst tracks tend to play when youíre searching around so theyíre the songs you hear the most. Thereís a Theme song that plays during the opening cutscene and itís in English. The lyrics make some sense so thatís a refreshing break from Engrish. I quite like the first half of it. Thereís a small about of Voice Acting and the actors will be familiar to anyone whoís watched a dubbed anime in recent years.

Time Hollow is a standard point and click adventure game; it's light on gameplay and itís linear. The primary failure of Time Hollow is that most of the characters arenít given enough exposition for you to really care. The player needed to be able to interact with them more so that when things change, they're sad to see that better reality slip away. Time Hollow is a decent game that while being short on actual factual gameplay is still fun to play.