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    jp's Time Hollow (DS)

    [January 20, 2009 05:03:59 PM]
    Very meh.

    Story was interesting (and confusing as you might expect from a game that involves time travel) but the gameplay, as I noted earlier, was simply not nearly as close as what you might have hoped for.
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    [December 9, 2008 10:16:29 PM]
    I've been making significant progress in this game and so far I feel largely underwhelmed. In a nutshell, I'm running into the problem where I've either noticed something (or figured it out), but I have to go through the motions of visiting people, talking to them, and going to places until the "solution" is effectively unlocked. For example, I went into the protagonist's uncle's study and noticed a cellphone on the table. Hey! This was a cellphone that another character had reported missing a few chapters ago (I'm on chapter 4). I should pick it up and ask them about it. No. Can't pick it up. No, the character doesn't seem to notice that IT'S AN IMPORTANT ITEM. I'm sure that later on it will come up...and then I'll have to pick it up, or refer to it, or something like that. Sigh. (and it's not like I'm all that clever)

    Essentially, the game either holds your hand to much (tells you exactly what to do and where to go) or expects you to randomly come up with the "right thing". (typically done by exhausting the possibilities..."oh, so I had to go to the part for no reason and talk to Morris?").

    That said, the story is intriguing enough that I genuinely want to know how it all works out.

    However...I hit a significant point of frustration this evening..

    The temporal manipulation mechanic is called "digging" and it involves drawing a circle on what is essentially a picture. The circle becomes a portal through which you can see what's shown in the picture, but in the past. You can then look, examine, take stuff, place stuff, and so on. (and doing so, hopefully change the past so that the future changes as well).

    Everytime you "close" a portal, you lose a segment from your energy bar at the top of the screen. This way you are presumably prevented from digging all over the place... There is some way to replenish this energy bar, but I'm not sure how to do it (or even if it is something you can choose to do rather than wait for the opportunity to present itself). Anyways, after about an hour of playtime I reached a point where I initiated a dig with one "segment" of energy left. I (stupidly) wondered if this was a good idea and what would happen when I closed the portal. Long story short, as soon as the portal closed I got the equivalent of a game over message, the game rebooted and I was back where I started an hour earlier. WHAT?!?!

    What frustrates me the most is that:

    (a) I had anticipated this might happen, yet blindly kept on going...
    (b) It will take me an hour to get back to the point where I was. You spend most of the game reading and clicking. Knowing exactly what to do doesn't really save much time...sigh.
    (c) If I had saved, I'm not sure what I should have done since I don't currently see a way out of the problem of having only one energy segment left.

    Sigh and grrr....
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    [December 7, 2008 05:14:10 AM]
    I just bought this game because I heard some interesting things about it's use of "time" as a gameplay mechanic. As far as I can tell, Time Hollow is essentially a point-click adventure game where I think I need to solve some sort of puzzle/riddle about the protagonists past (present?). Somehow, time travel is a part of this...or flashbacks of a past that never was?

    Anyways, I'm HOPING that the mechanics have more to do with the story/fictive temporal frame than anything else, because I'm in need of some good (and recent) examples of games that incorporate this. I've got more "traditional" time as gameplay games under other "categories"...

    So far (about an hour of gameplay?) I've yet to start using the whole time as gameplay part of the game....
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    jp's Time Hollow (DS)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 7 December, 2008

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 20 January, 2009

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Underwhelming. Story was interesting but the gameplay wasn't even near what you might have expected.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstar

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