Achron Devs Return With Another Time-Bending Game

Back in the dim and distant past – or a simultaneous event to right now, depending on which philosophy of time you subscribe to – we were rather enraptured with the concepts powering a real-time strategy game known as Achron. An RTS based around time travel, wherein you could both revisit what had happened in the past and predict what might happen in the future in order to inform your tactics. Sadly the reality wasn’t quite as sweet as the idea. “Achron is a game that deserves to be played… but not an easy one to recommend buying”, reckoned Richard in 2011.

A dev with that kind of design ambition is a dev that deserves to be watched, however, and so it that I was glad to hear that Hazardous Software are back with zTime [official site] – another game about time travel.

Snakey puzzler ‘zTime’ is a title that sounds a bit too much like 3D modelling software, so they’ve stuck Danger Noodles! on the end, which means it sounds like something that fell out the App Store, but never mind that, take a look at the thing:

As you can see, it’s an easier sell than the convoluted Achron, being based more on reacting to a prediction than it is on holding multiple timelines in your poor confused head. It reminds me of Frozen Synapse a little, despite obviously being an entirely different sort of game – both the icy, skeletal look of it and the concept of changing your actions based on a guesstimate about what will result from your current ones.

Interesting, and pretty too, in a slightly stark, Geometry Warsish way. It’s also got a VR mode, supporting both Rift and Vive, if you own some cybergoggs. I suspect all those spectral trails might look quite beautiful in it. I’ll try and look soon, as ZTime is out now on Steam Early Access for £3.99/4,99€/$4.99. The devs reckon the full release will be in a mere two-four months.


  1. Sin Vega says:

    This is fantastic news, I always felt it was a bit tragic that Achron came out, and suffered for its RTS wobbliness, about a year or so before Kickstarter and the like suddenly exploded. They narrowly missed out on the possibility of using that crazy period to fund a longer development that might have fixed its problems.

    Achrons is one I keep almost getting back into, because the time travel side was incredibly impressive and had a tonne of potential, but the rest of it is so lacklustre that it’s wasted. I’m a bit surprised nobody else has even tried, but hey, it’s moot now hopefully!

    • Kollega says:

      I kinda wish some dev licensed the Resequence Engine from Hazardous Software (which the company explicitly intended to offer) for a time-travel game of their own. Imagine some sort of 1v1 duel game with time-travel shenanigans, or a co-op sidescrolling shooter with time-travel shenanigans, or, well, pretty much anything. With time-travel shenanigans.

      • indigochill says:

        Sign me up for Toribash with time travel. Time travelling physics ninjas!

      • Sin Vega says:

        MGS with time travel, so you can skip the 400 million hours of shitey writing.

        But yeah, this was what I always hoped too, the potential seems so huge in just about every genre.

  2. Kollega says:

    I’m sorry, but… I don’t really see how the actual time-travel is involved. In Achron, it was pretty clear what role the time-travel mechanics have in the RTS gameplay, but here… I don’t actually see what the Resequence Engine’s time-travel feature does for the game. I is confused.

    • indigochill says:

      It looks a bit like it’s a 2D “bullet hell” type game with a 3rd dimension (depth) representing the passage of time. Thus the trails and the marks on the trails representing positions x seconds in the future, and why the movement of the player dot and all the other dots is constrained to the horizontal plane, and there’s an effect along the edges as if the level is constantly falling.

      • Marr says:

        I wonder if this will be counterproductive for some players. The time projection thing is a sort of terminator vision approximation of what bullet hell player’s brains are doing naturally, I could see this artificial version clashing with their trained skills and bouncing away most of that potential audience.

  3. Sin Vega says:

    Oh! I forgot: Achron is also one of extemely few games whose soundtrack I listen to outside the context of the game. It just so happens that it’s my go-to music for writing, too. Most things I wrote for RPS this year were written to this loveliness:

    Particularly We Are Vecgir, which kicks in just before the 31 minutes mark.

  4. Superfluper says:

    Donnie Darko: The Game

  5. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    2011?! Surely it wasn’t released that long ago..

    At least it’s not in black a white.

  6. BajiNaji says:

    I thought that was Archon for a second and was excited for a fantasy battle board game revival.

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    particlese says:

    Ooooo, cool! I frickin’ love recasting things in different ways to get new, conscious insight into what’s going on, as well as just seeing otherwise interesting presentation of data. Sounds like MBA BS, perhaps, but from more of a science/math perspective, it’s something I can actually get excited about, and this game looks to…synergize the leverage or something, I don’t know. Count me as excited for it, at any rate.