In movies, whenever some dude gets into a time machine, he goes “zzzzzzap!” and he disappears. But this is ridiculous! Would it not make more sense for a eager-faced time traveler, who is able to jump to any point in history, come back at the immediate moment in time that he left? This would be practical: he would be able to go about his daily life without anyone realizing that he was zapping off to the past to see their great-grandparents. (This will always be a trouble with owning a time-craft — one has to always keep it hidden from those who would long to go back. To go back to see a loved one, or a religious leader. People long to justify the way in which their life — something universally defined by the past. If we could only go back, to where it all started, we could tell ourselves, ” This here: this is why I’m here.”) Or perhaps he jumps back in time right before something he doesn’t want to do. “Oh dear. Tomorrow I am to take that exam on nuclear fission. Oh, I know! I’ll skip it by going back in time, possibly to see some hot broad, and coming back after it happens. That way, I wont have to go because no one will find me.” No one would find him, incidentally, because he will have disappeared.
Why? I’ll tell you why! Because movie-going audiences are lambs that must be guided through movies with sticks and carrots a-plenty. They need to be shown the villain by the cruel music that is played on his appearance; so too cannot the audience see the hero disappear and then reappear instantly, before following his first disappearance, plot wise.
But there is another possibility: perhaps the hero, having disappeared from this time, cannot return. Perhaps he dies in the past, or maybe there are multiple time-lines. Perhaps this is the message that we slip in every peice of anything around time travel: you never can come back.
With games like Timeslip, it’s hard not to wonder if time travel is really worth all the pomp and frivolity. It follows Pan-Dimensional Bert, who goes back in time to, in his own words, “Drive those cavemen crazy with my Lynyrd Skynyrd.” He never does. Instead, they decide to show him who’s boss. They do this in such a beautiful way I can hardly describe it. They stand, just off screen, see, and they continually spawn — faster than you can shoot them, in fact. Thus, every platform becomes a major risk to jump to, since you can’t advance the screen past the entire platform, thus ebbing the tides of limitless baddies.
Naturally, it’s eventually possible to get enough of the guys cleared out that there’s a free spot big enough to jump to, but you’d better fire your gun while you jump, or you will hit a wall of baddies and fall to your death, you unlucky soul.
So, this game is strange as hell, and I’m not really sure what to make of it, honestly. I like the concept (Dr. Scientistdad raids the refrigerator, falls into a black hole in his cheese tray, travels through time, finds true love etc.), but I’m just not sure I like the game play. It tends to feel like a game against the poor design of the game rather than any fun.
Thus, I must refrain from recommending this game to all but the most enthusiastic time-traveling fanatics.