By Nathan Grayson on July 15th, 2013 at 10:00 am.
Apocalypses are just the darndest things, right? We always want them – I mean, who hasn’t wished to see humdrum societal norms crumble to ash? – but then we get them and realize, “Oh yeah, apocalypse.” The end of all things. No more wildly creative variations on the cheese sandwich or GIFs of kitties smooching puppies. Just desolation. Also kitties and puppies warring against each other in high-octane murder machines held together by flaking scrap metal and fuzzy wuzzy yarn balls. But what if you could take all of that back? What if the End was only a suggestion? Well, then you’d have Time Travel Knight, a Molyjam escapade about rewiring time and space so that all of existence doesn’t blow itself sky-high. You have 14 days. Can you stop the world from ending?
The game itself is rather simple, but it’s a fascinating concept that I’m glad a few Molyjammers at least explored. Basically, your goal is to figure out what went wrong two weeks before the apocalypse and frantically put ol’ Humpty Humanity back together again. All the while, the clock is ticking. Each day is less than a minute long, so act quickly and decisively.
Odds are, you won’t get it on your first try, but I was kind of disappointed at how easy it was for me to just bumble around and fortuitously come across most of the relevant pieces. I didn’t feel like I was earning the “good” ending so much as the developers just set up a set of dominoes for me to knock down. Then again TTM is a jam game, so I suppose it couldn’t have ended up much more than a proof-of-concept anyway.
Even so, it’s quite an inventive thing – and rather lovely too. The pixel graphics are simple but effective, and a surprisingly robust soundtrack ebbs and flows with the game’s pace very nicely. The script’s also enjoyably witty and heartfelt – at least, in the places where it doesn’t feel like it was hastily translated from another language.
Other flaws squirm beneath the surface (for instance, some pretty abysmal top-down blade boppery), but the central conceit shines through. Time Travel Knight is foremost a game of discovery, and there are some really fun surprises along the way. It won’t set the world on fire, but then, isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place?