By – Sophie Jones

Timeframe Review He

Sometimes 10 seconds can feel like an eternity or in this case exactly 10 minutes. TIMEframe is an exploration experience that allows you to discover a mysterious civilization on the brink of destruction. But don’t get too comfortable as each second draws the inevitable cataclysmic event closer. This installment plays more like an epic poem as it introduces philosophical concepts and marvels with its cubist graphics. But is this yet another case that prioritizes style over substance?

You awake in a towering complex, a setting sun greets you with its auburn glow. With only two doors leading out of the structure I decided to follow the sunlight’s rays. I was met with dunes of sand stretching into a mountain range. One path led to a great wall and I moseyed towards it. Unsure of what I was doing I checked the menu several times. Why am I here? What is the purpose of this game? Before long I saw a rock break through the serene setting at a leisurely pace and it was rather interesting to watch it slowly descend. I was then bathed in a white light as it landed and I awoke back in the spire. A time loop but why?

My dialogue of the game carried on like this for quite some time as I was completely entranced. There were so many questions I wanted answering. After a while it became apparent that the game allows you 10 minutes to explore before the meteorite crashes and the timeline resets itself. During this you have to find numerous artifacts which tell a story of the people who used to live there. The texts you find are written beautifully and detail how different groups lived.

However, due to their disjointed nature you never really feel like you can grasp what has happened or what is happening. You are able learn about certain aspects of their culture but these pieces aren’t enough to build a coherent account. For me, this was disappointing as I really wanted to know more.
The overall run time was incredibly short and can be finished under one hour. Moreover, there isn’t any replayability, even though you can enter the domain again, there isn’t anything new to see. The end of the story was therefore deflating as many questions were left unexplained. The whole journey fell apart as I wondered what had it all been about? I guess we will never know.

Timeframe Review He

When discussing gameplay, there is little to none. Your only task is to wander around the serene setting and click on one of the fourteen articles. Even this simple element hasn’t been executed well. Walking feels more like gliding and the first person camera puts you too close to the ground. The rough edges and steep slopes desperately cry out for a jump button which isn’t present. Furthermore, you can’t run or increase your speed which can make traveling progressively mind-numbing. There is a basic map available to help players locate all the relics, which can be found pressing space. Nevertheless, it is clear this isn’t a game, but instead, a narrative that has commandeered the platform to create an interactive experience far more detailed than one gained from merely watching.

Despite its flaws TIMEframe is still a spectacle. Its artistic style is truly visionary. With a faux-polygonal design it’s reminiscent of early 3D PlayStation and N64 titles. This distinctive flair separates the game from similar works such as Journey. The environment, though harsh, is still wondrous to gaze upon and heightens the phenomenal ambiance. Likewise, the lighting effects are superb! Showcasing soft shadows and vibrant colours. The games identity is further fleshed out with the addition of a beautiful soundtrack. Upon the discovery of each location you will hear a new melodic track to set the scene. For me the tuneful accompaniment made the price tag almost worth it, as I was blown away with the soothing guitar pieces. Without the music I fear this expedition wouldn’t have been as impactful.

There were certain areas of the design that could have been improved upon. Considering the plot is about a civilization who are going to meet their end I was surprised that we didn’t encounter the natives. From the excerpts it is clear that certain factions stayed behind to witness the catastrophic event, yet they are not present in the game. Personally, I didn’t mind the empty nature of the world but it seemed an odd choice as the addition of a society in slow motion would have been fascinating to witness. Also, the comet strike itself was rather dull. This idea could have been menacing to encounter but instead the choice to fade out to a white screen was anti climatic. If this event had been more destructive it would have added a lovely dynamic to the game as you feared the foreseeable meteorite.

Graphically, you are constricted to only six settings ranging from fastest to incredible. Throughout my time with the game I didn’t encounter any crashes, frame rate dips or bugs. Controller support is present, however, I would not recommend ever playing this title with such a device. When using a controller I found I could not access the menu or the map screen. I could only move around using the analogue. Additionally, using the controller made the camera move slowly and thus upon turning, the picture became distorted momentarily.

Timeframe Review He

Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

TIMEframe isn’t a game, it’s an experience where you can explore the skeleton of a civilization in slow motion. It’s another example of a title putting too much emphasis on style and thus left no room for substance. I was left with a bitter taste as this incredible journey was over in 30 minutes. If you love these types of experimental or “artsy” offerings, you won’t be left wanting. However, for £5.99/$7.99 the price is certainly steep considering the content. You might want to wait for this brief adventure to hit an infamous sale.

TIMEframe  Technical Summary:

Timeframe Review He

  • Time Played – 30 Minutes
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – None
  • DRM – Steam
  • System Specs – Intel i7-4720HQ@2.60 GHz, 8GB Ram, Geforce GTX 980M
  • Control Scheme – KB/M and Controller
  • Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – No
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