Review

Timelie Review – Every second counts

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When a child wakes up in the middle of a mysterious facility filled with hostile robots, she starts looking for a quick exit. Along the way, this innocent girl discovers that she possesses precognitive powers that allow her to explore future deadlines until she discovers the optimal path to safety. That’s the premise of Timelie, Urnique Studio’s stealth puzzle game that sometimes challenges your reasoning and critical thinking skills, but runs its course too quickly. All of Timelie’s levels are miniature mazes that let you dodge security drones as you walk up to the digital keypads to unlock the exit. Navigating these mazes is relatively straightforward, and your goal is almost always obvious, so the challenge comes from your limited windows of opportunity to dodge the patrolling sentries and hit your target. Fortunately, your unnamed heroine can see the future. In practical terms, this means you can pause and rewind the action by scrolling through a timeline at the bottom of the screen, allowing you to fine-tune your movements in each tangle of lanes. Crossing the guards eye lines and narrowly escaping their grasp is always satisfying. Once you’ve perfectly orchestrated your escape, you can watch a real-time video of your plan in action, which is neat in concept. While performing, I was generally happy to skip those backing tracks thanks to the slow movement of the main character. In the middle of this adventure, you make friends with a stray cat. This cat can squeeze through narrow vents to reach new areas and can meow to distract guards at key times. Because this cat can’t reach the keyboards, you have to bounce back and forth between cat and girl control, using their tandem skills to outsmart an army of security bots. Controlling two creatures at once is a fun ride that adds a welcome depth to Timelie’s otherwise simple structure, and I had the most fun coordinating the movements of my two characters carefully as if they were performing a dance well. repeated. Even after the addition of the cat, Timelie’s puzzles never get complex enough to be fully satisfying. A few sequences forced me to stop and consider all of my options, but Timelie quickly runs out of stuff to throw at you, which makes the experience a bit shallow overall. Also, during some endgame puzzles, I had to go back to the start of a level’s timeline to correct an early mistake (which I didn’t know was a mistake at the time), me forcing the whole scene to replay. Most levels only take a few minutes to go, so this is a minor inconvenience, but it adds a sense of monotony to some of Timelie’s smartest puzzles. There are several games that give players the option to go back and pause the action, but I never got tired of this particular power fantasy. I appreciate Timelie’s stealth tactical approach to weather manipulation. But just as Timelie starts to hit her beat, I hit the credits. Timelie isn’t the most comprehensive exploration of time manipulation, but his bite-size puzzles are a welcome distraction.

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