Timelie has been on my radar for some time (we even did an interview with the developer about the game), but as a console-exclusive gamer, I’ve had to wait to get my hands on it. After over a year of PC-exclusivity, it was announced at last week’s Nintendo Indie World event that it was launching on the Nintendo Switch too – best of all, it was releasing that day. Gotta love a shadow drop, right?
I’ve had a chance to play through the time-bending adventure now and had a really good time with it, with Timelie’s blend of clever ideasfeeling perfect to play on the Nintendo Switch.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Timelie puts players in the role of a young girl who awakens in a strange and abstract facility, with it clear that she seems to be part of some kind of experiment of sorts (though it’s unclear as to what exactly that entails). It’s up to you to try and help her escape, though that won’t be easy given the fact that there are robots pursuing her along the way. Luckily, she has the ability to manipulate time, which doesn’t only make it easier to predict each robot’s movements in order to escape their wrath, but also allows her to use changes in the environment to her advantage.
Everything in the game takes place over a timeline, which is displayed at the bottom of the screen with a big bar. All events and character movements span over this timeline, so you could essentially wait in one spot if you just want to evade capture. However, you need to make your way to the exit of each level in the allotted time, meaning you’ve got to watch the timeline carefully, follow the actions of the robots, and make sure that you take advantage of their movements to get around in an undetected and stealthy manner. Sometimes you’ll need to activate panels to open doors along the way, sometimes you’ll have to use the time-loop to manipulate the environment, whilst other times you’ll have to guide your feline companion along to help you evade capture.
What, you didn’t think you’d be doing this alone, did you? Yep, you’ll also have a little cat join you on your escapade, giving you help in some puzzles where an extra pair of hands (or, more fittingly, paws) is needed. This means you’ll be controlling the actions of two characters at once, with plenty of fine-tuning required in order to get them moving and performing actions in synchronisation to open up pathways and keep the robots off your back. You can expect to be navigating hallways or activating door panels at the girl, all whilst squeezing through tight gaps or meowing as the cat… it’s a combo that works.
“You’re able to pause time, rewind it, and play it forward with a simple button press, whilst the tiled layout of levels makes it easy to move characters or flick between them to perform actions.”
This might sound stressful on paper, but Timelie’s accessible gameplay setup means nothing ever feels too difficult to perform. You’re able to pause time, rewind it, and play it forward with a simple button press, whilst the tiled layout of levels makes it easy to move characters or flick between them to perform actions. It almost has a point-and-click style control scheme with players moving a cursor around to choose which tile to move to, but it works really well on the Nintendo Switch and you won’t feel like you’re inhibited by the lack of a mouse.
My favourite thing about Timelie was its level design, with each puzzle designed in an intuitive and clever way to take advantage of each different aspect of the game. New ideas are constantly introduced as you move between chapters, whilst the finesse offered when playing with the timeline ensures your movements can be finely tuned in order to react accordingly to the flow of each enemy’s actions. Again, it might sound a little stressful to deal with, but it works SO well in-game and makes each split-second success feel all the more rewarding. This carries on throughout the whole of the game too, with no level ever feeling like a dud or that it wasn’t carefully designed, whilst the short length of each level ensures that even the trickier ones never feel frustrating.
“New ideas are constantly introduced as you move between chapters, whilst the finesse offered when playing with the timeline ensures your movements can be finely tuned in order to react accordingly to the flow of each enemy’s actions.”
It all comes together to make for a memorable puzzle experience, though there were a few things I’d like to have seen done differently. A bit more enemy variety or boss-like set pieces might have been nice for example, if only to spice up the overall experience. It would have been cool if there was a bit more variety in the visuals too – whilst each chapter does change things up a little, the overall aesthetic could feel a little samey in design.
At least it looks good and plays well on the Nintendo Switch though, with no performance hitches encountered throughout. It felt especially good to play on handheld mode, with the quick pace of levels suiting quick bursts of gameplay here and there. Admittedly, I blasted through the game in one sitting (it’s only around four hours long so it’s not a huge time sink), but it’s definitely the sort of puzzler that’d be easy to drop in and out of in handheld play.
Timelie is a fun puzzler that offers some really cool time-bending mechanics as you evade the wrath of the patrolling robots. It’s all complemented by some great level design and some satisfying split-second decision making, whilst it looks and plays well on the Nintendo Switch too. It would have been nice to have a bit visual and enemy variety, but it doesn’t stop Timelie from being an enjoyable game that fans of the puzzling genre will certainly want to check out.
Developer: Urnique Studio
Publisher: Urnique Studio, Zordix
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC