Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

Time Hollow (DS) artwork

Time Hollow (DS) review


"On the night preceding his seventeenth birthday, Ethan Kairos' peaceful slumber is interrupted by a fiery nightmare. He sees his father and mother struggling to escape a raging inferno. The next morning, he bolts awake into a reality where that dream appears to be truth. Now, he possesses foreign memories of his parents disappearing twelve years ago, along with ones of growing up in the care of his secretive, hotheaded uncle. Yet, the remnants of his original life clearly remain in his consc..."



On the night preceding his seventeenth birthday, Ethan Kairos' peaceful slumber is interrupted by a fiery nightmare. He sees his father and mother struggling to escape a raging inferno. The next morning, he bolts awake into a reality where that dream appears to be truth. Now, he possesses foreign memories of his parents disappearing twelve years ago, along with ones of growing up in the care of his secretive, hotheaded uncle. Yet, the remnants of his original life clearly remain in his consciousness. Time Hollow, styled like a visual novel, assigns you to help repair the fabric of time and return Ethan's life to normal.

The tool needed to accomplish that goal immediately falls into the lap of young Kairos. The Hollow Pen allows him to manipulate past events, even to push and pull objects through the space/time continuum. But the very existence of this power illuminates a distinct possibility: there must be someone else out there with a similar ability targeting the Kairos family. That becomes a certainty as misfortune follows Ethan's every move. One of his friends mysteriously disappears. When he fixes that, acquaintances start to die in suspicious accidents. Murders begin to occur as soon as those tragedies are undone. Everyone Ethan knows turns up dead at some point in the story. Eventually, the logic spirals into some irreconcilable paradoxes and twisted logic, but the urgent motivation increases at a perfect pace. Ethan can't remain in a world where anyone close to him will suffer or perish.

The letdown comes for aspiring time detectives, even those looking for the benign item and fact collection seen in the likes of Phoenix Wright. Whenever the past is perverted, Ethan experiences flashbacks of memories created from the new reality. These are the key to undoing the damage. The Hollow Pen activates once you obtain the context, date, time, and location seen in the flashback. When it glows, time freezes and the process of making new history commences. However, Ethan lives in a small Japanese neighborhood: one school, one park, one train station, one cafe, one library. Most of these places only span a couple of screens, and there aren't many ways to interact with the environment. Clicking around the map and questioning Ethan's handful of friends never takes long. In fact, the game extends itself by making you ask the exact same questions multiple times, but it still doesn't last past single-digit hours. In the worst cases, he simply has to stroll into the library, politely request a newspaper article, and he's instantly ready to right the (current) world's wrongs.

There is a possibility you'll run out of chances to dig into the past. The Hollow Pen can only draw relatively small holes, and confusion can arise about exactly where to outline a portal. For example, Ethan has to slip a note into a particular school locker, but they're not labeled and you have to guess the one he needs. Using the pen haphazardly can quickly lead to a game over. However, the main objective of a dig is always clear. In fact, you can rarely interact with a flashback in more than one way; as you tap around the screen Ethan flat out states if an object is interesting or not. Even though you're given a tiny menu of actions along with an equally sized inventory of items, Ethan sometimes works automatically. When he has to disable a bicycle, you just designate it with the stylus and he takes care of the details.

You're occasionally allowed to make minor choices, not affecting the linear story, but the fact that Ethan's range of actions are so narrow stands as a huge negative point. You make his move and live with its consequences. I would've liked to see more misdirection, more chronological puzzles, and more consideration for the effects of different methods. Time Hollow presents a compelling narrative, and it includes some impressive anime-quality full motion video to break up its static talking heads. Weigh its heavy storyline against its simpleminded gameplay, though, and it measures in light.

Rating: 5/10

woodhouse's avatar
Community review by woodhouse (October 10, 2008)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by woodhouse
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble (DS) artwork
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble (DS)

In practice, Shinobi Rumble doesn't deliver superior single-player combat. The fighting mechanics are technically simple, the computer's strategies are equally unsophisticated, and the story mode is simple shorthand. If you're going at this solo, the game will occupy a few hours and then be forgotten forever.
Heartwork (PC) artwork
Heartwork (PC)

He could still end up in a compromising position with a cold steel barrel up his butt. I consider it fitting payback for his other transgressions. Heartwork considers it the ultimate orgasm.
Madden NFL 11 (Wii) artwork
Madden NFL 11 (Wii)

All of these choices reinforce your self-image, plus they present more challenges than simply winning games and piling up stats. There are many ways in which the Wii version of Madden can't ever compete with its HD counterparts, but these changes to Franchise Mode define it as a desirable parallel.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Time Hollow review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Advertise | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Time Hollow is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Time Hollow, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.