Genre: Stealth puzzles
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Ouya
Release Date: April 2012
TheIndieJar: Rose and Time Review
The list of games that include time travel now is rather large; until recently the most notable would be Prince of Persia. Rose and Time is really nothing like that and gives you full control over reversing time to help Rose in her quest to find her parents who are trapped in the past.
After researching how to go back and save her parents, Rose discovers a crystal that she knows can give her the power to control time. This story is presented with some beautiful sketches of Rose as she toils to understand time travel. Then the game starts and in each level you chase the crystal around time. This gives you the chance to have fun with the commonly accepted rule of time travel, “don’t let your past self see you”. After collecting the first crystal in a level, you will start again in a different place and with a different crystal to get to. Obviously this means that past you is likely to get in your way, so there are a variety of ways to avoid screwing up the time-space continuum. The level ends when all of the crystals are collected, which isn’t easy because, for example, there could be a button that past-Rose has to stand on to open a door or she can block her own path by waiting in the wrong place for too long! Whenever you’re running around on a precarious platform and the previous iteration of you is bounding merrily towards it’s own crystal, you start to panic and look for a place to hide or move out the way!
Fortunately Rose is smart in the ways of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff and you can make her put her hands over her eyes so that future Rose can pass without ending the universe. Every now and then there are tight misses and places you can trap yourself in between two past-Roses! This is where time reversal comes in handy; getting caught means that everything stops and you have no choice but to go back. Whether that is to a few seconds ago or a minute, depends on if you think that there is enough wiggle room to keep the timelines that you have already created. If not it can be back to the drawing board. This is a sticking point of the game; there could be five or more Roses running about the place and not leaving yourself an extra second on the first attempt means that you may have to reverse through the four successful routes that came after it. There is no ‘skip to past Rose’ button so waiting as you rewind can take some time. This isn’t a terrible problem as it can be funny watching Rose sprint backwards. It’s really impressive how the music still sounds great and fits the mood of the game, even going backwards!
One particular section, about a third of the way through the game’s 20 levels, lets you use all of your previously learned time travel tricks, and step on buttons to open doors, hide round corners to make sure that the past-you can’t catch you while past-you avoids past-past-you! Then during the end of the level the final Rose starts on a pillar that lets you watch as every previous iteration wiggles around the level desperate to catch the crystal and yet narrowly missing being seen. I got caught out by this because the final Rose of that level also has to get a crystal, but there is only a small opening while your past-self is standing on a pad to open one of the doors. Get the timing down to a tee to hop off the platform and sneak behind past Rose and grab that final shard.
The puzzles are mostly ones that you can figure out as you fumble through them. Nothing can prepare you for trapping yourself half a second before getting to a safe spot. What I really like, and is probably the reason it can be hard to prepare for the puzzle from the first go, is that your previous attempts become part of the level’s difficulty. You don’t know what you’re going to do that screws you over! It could be not waiting that extra second with your eyes covered or running off a button too soon because you can see past-Rose running towards you, oblivious that she is about to ruin her own plan! It’s wonderful to see Rose repeating what you did exactly and seeing how it changes the landscape of the puzzle.
- Tricky level design
- Charming story
- Music and graphics are great
- I want more levels!