Reviews

Still Time Review – Rewinding Its Way Back to 2D Puzzle Solving (PS4)

Still Time is a 2D pixelated puzzle game – created by game developer Alan Zucconi, and co-published by MixedBag – where players take control of the existing timeline of your character in each level. Falling deeper and deeper into the mysterious testing chambers of time control, you’ll have to solve your way out of dozens of challenging puzzles, manipulate time and interact with previous versions of yourself to escape the secrets that await in, Still Time.

Placed in the vaults of time manipulation and experiments, our protagonist has no other option but to continue into the depths of the test chambers, which act as the introduction levels of the game. Going over the basics, you’ll be required to open locked doors by switching levers, placing boxes on switches, avoid threatening obstacles – all while tampering with the fabric of time itself.

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The puzzles at first seem remarkably easy and transparent, however, once the usage of time becomes a factor, the mechanics start to change drastically. Flipping various switches to open doors or leaving weighted boxes on switches to help hold the exit open seems easy enough, but the catch soon starts to play its role.

In many levels the exit doors will only stay open while the switch to activate it is occupied. Cleverly rewinding time will leave your present character in place, while creating a secondary AI character who will run along your previous path – exactly as you did before. Using this method, players will flip open doors in advance so you’ll be able to turn back time and take advantage of your past self’s actions.

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Unlike other time manipulating 2D puzzle titles – cough, Braid, cough – Still Time only controls the time itself, not the physical beings and space around involved. Meaning, your character doesn’t rewind along with time, but a second, or third, or even fourth portrayal of your character will appear and complete the tasks exactly as you performed them before. This approach leaves new tactics and strategies in solving these tedious puzzles, and makes for a overall new experience in the time manipulating genre.

Death doesn’t even stand in the way of our brave protagonist. Once the player has met an untimely demise, you are given the chance to rewind time back to before you collapsed to your death. This action is only available after a life terminating action, and does not create a past version of the character. Finding an appropriate time to “revive” your character is an important detail, as once you’ve faltered once in the level, your current run will restart from the beginning.

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Of course, restarting is always an option, and not always a bad one at that. With the constant flow of time being rewound to unlock specific doors, it’s easy to go a bit overboard with “time clones”, flipping switches at wrong times, or otherwise losing a valuable object in the often times hectic levels. A quick restart from the menu is easy, as well as encouraged when things become a little too busy, or otherwise impassable.

Still time offers 40 different puzzling levels with unique gameplay mechanics, a challenging new way of approaching the puzzle solving platformer, and something many puzzle titles lack, an intriguing story of a man looking for his freedom, while uncovering truths about the time that surrounds him. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to stress your brain and dive deep into a “timeless” adventure, Still Time provides a fresh experience with complex puzzles and level designs, waiting to be solved by using casual and simple puzzle solving capabilities in classic pixel art style.

Look for Still Time on the PS4 and PS Vita systems available now as a crossbuy purchase, and coming to Steam for PC at a later date.

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