Coming from developer Flazm and META Publishing, Time Loader is a story-driven puzzle-platformer that will put you through your paces as you try to rewrite the past and deal with the consequences and how they affect the future.
Can you figure out that single thread of events that will undo the mistakes of the past while preserving the best of the current situation into the new future? Or are you doomed to always be running and re-running the same loop, trying in vain to fix one thing and breaking another in the process?
Check out our Time Loader review to find out! The game features a nostalgic atmosphere of the ‘90s with its bulky tech, references to the movies and music, made only more unique with tiny robots, alternate realities and the butterfly effect.
Time Loader begins with a splash-screen introducing us to the plot of the game: in the ‘90s the Creator went through a tragic accident, breaking his spine in the process. The protagonist of the game is a tiny robotic car made by the Creator in a desperate attempt to change the past and, in doing so, remake the present.
The Creator sends this tiny robot into the past by using a microwave. From that point on, it is up to you to scour the past version of the house, solve puzzles, acquire unique upgrades like the boosters, harpoons, screwdrivers and more to get things done.
Your adventure in the past begins by trying to change a few tiny details that led to the Creator’s injury. A simple path from the room to the kitchen looks completely different from the little machine’s point of view.
A seemingly trivial task to destroy a wheel of a toy car is anything but when you are a tiny creation lost in a hypertrophied world. Everything that is familiar and comfortable to a person, becomes unusual and inscrutable to our small protagonist: giant living room, huge kitchen, spacious dark basement and other colorful locations will test the mechanical hero on its journey.
Every location brings along new ways of solving various problems, new instruments to use in your adventure and more information. In one location, we get a choice to break a toy robot beloved by the Creator in an attempt to save him – or let things remain as is.
The game features a lot of variations in your playthrough: do you fix the computer or break the toy robot? Do you fix the tap or allow a houseplant to die? This branching nature of the game will have an effect on your playthrough.
The game features a beautifully created complex world with a variety of well-constructed paths, puzzles and riddles presented to players from the point of view of a tiny robotic toy car. Even seemingly mundane things take on new interesting forms during the game. Seemingly trivial things can be used in creative ways during the playthrough and even force you to reconsider your attitude towards the surroundings. Despite the seeming simplicity of the levels, they look highly atmospheric and lively.
Playing as the creation, we’ll find a variety of tools such as a screwdriver, springs to add to the wheels, shocker and even a harpoon that will allow players to previously unavailable locations, get rid of peculiar obstacles and proceed with the main quest of the game: to change the past of the Creator.
The game has a variety of hidden secrets, information, keys and tiny changes you can introduce to the past that can change your overall understanding of the story and the way it will end.
The pleasant music harmoniously blends into the game, emphasizing the love the team put into filling out the world of Time Loader. It feels nice to be playing in a headset, listening to dad jokes and little comments of the robot, enjoying the music and solving puzzles.
The OST doesn’t get boring during your second or even the third playthrough. Yes, you read that right: the game is worth playing through a number of times as every single playthrough will add something new or a spin on something you’d previously seen before. Remember the toy robot? Try saving it in your first playthrough and leave it to its fate in the second to see the difference in the ending.
The world of the game lives and breathes its own life that you will get immersed in during your time in Time Loader: annoying cat, rats, various objects and plants – all of it is dynamic and living, no stagnation.
Through your little adventure and as you progress through the main plot of the game, you will face questions of morality and ethics of time-traveling. Every player will have to answer those for themselves.
In addition to being an interesting puzzle, the game’s writing itself shows you the possible ways to overcome its challenges. Looking back at your adventure from the ending slides can give you something to think about when you decide to approach the game for a different run.
In my opinion, the game is not long enough, it makes you want more. Yes, you will be playing it over and over again, and your playthroughs will be varied and interesting but… it feels like something is missing.
The world of the game is strikingly beautiful. Without exaggeration, it is a pleasure to play through Time Loader both in terms of visuals and sounds. Dynamic lighting and smooth animations, shadows, the noise of rustling leaves, even the crackling of fire – the game pays amazing attention to details.