Saving The Past With Time Hollow

By Jenni . October 8, 2008 . 2:53pm

Time Hollow tells an amazing story. You might settle in to play for a few moments, but then get caught up. In fact, you may even finish the entire adventure in a single sitting. This is a quality, point-and-click adventure that perfectly utilizes all of the DS functions, and is a great way to spend an afternoon.


Time Hollow has a deep and twisting story that surrounds a young man named Ethan Kairos. On his birthday, his whole world changes. The day before, he was living with his parents. The next, he’s living with his uncle because his parents disappeared 12 years before. He ends up finding a Hollow Pen later that day, and discovering that he can use it to go back through time in certain areas to fix the past.


So most of the game has the player exploring, as Ethan, and trying to fix the past. Apparently, a mysterious figure is tampering with it, causing people to disappear or be murdered. You’ll find yourself using the pen to tamper with the past multiple times, after confirming flashback memories through investigations and conversations and gathering pertinent items.


Initially, the changes in the past will be minor. There’s the goal of finding Ethan’s parents that lasts throughout the whole story, but initially you’re just looking for a watch and trying to find a missing person. Things quickly turn sinister for Ethan and the people he cares about.


Probably the most striking part of Time Hollow is its appearance. It looks beautiful. From the static backgrounds you must search through and explore, to the animated, anime-style, fully voiced cutscenes which pop up to advance the story and break up the monotony. It is a pleasure to sit down and explore the environments – a good thing since you have to do quite a bit of exploring. The animated scenes act as little rewards, for doing so well.


The control scheme is also a pleasure to work with. Everything is completely accurate, and to ensure that you’re looking or interacting with exactly what you want, a special icon will appear before you tap and confirm interacting with it. This makes it incredibly easy to be sure you’re examining a bike and not a person, or a bed and not a cat.


The only downside to Time Hollow is how short the story is. If you buckle down, you can probably finish the entire adventure in a single afternoon. Despite that, it is an amazing title and still worth playing for the twisting and turning storyline. Definitely not a waste of time.


There is some replay value, as you can go through the game a second time, engaging in a far shorter playthrough. Think 15 minutes. Once you’ve done that though, and seen the extra ending, that’s it.


Time Hollow is genuinely fun and feels fresh, despite a similar notion occurring the the Ashton Kutcher movie the Butterfly Effect. Perhaps this is because this is the first DS game to deal with altering the past to affect the present. It also could be because Time Hollow just fits so well on the DS. The DS is perfect for point-and-click adventure games, and until now all players have had to fill that void were the Phoenix Wright/Apollo Justice and Touch Detective series.


Images courtesy of Konami.

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  • EvilAkito

    I still need to finish up the final chapter, but I gotta say, I’m disappointed in this game’s length. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the Phoenix Wright games, but I was expecting the adventure to last a bit longer.

  • squall3031

    Yeah i agree. I just finished this two days ago. Too short. Great story though….i thought it was lame at the start.

  • Pascal

    This game truly pulled me in, a real masterpiece ! Too bad I completed it pretty fast though… I wished they’d announce a sequel.

  • Jenni

    Yup, that’s the one downside. If you can overlook the shortness of the adventure, it is really a wonderful story and game.

    I ended up finishing the main storyline in a single afternoon. I got home from work, started playing, and before I knew it I was done.

    A sequel would be nice, or perhaps a prequel/spin-off.

  • Nika

    a prequal would be nice, after all Ethens father seems to have used the Pen quite a lot as well. That could make for an interesting story.

  • I loved this game, just finished it yesterday. So glad to see you guys write it up!

  • Joanna

    I have the game sitting on my desk, but I’ve had no time to actually start it. But I’m glad that it has mostly positive feedback, I can be confident that I haven’t wasted my money on it. Now I’m looking forward to playing it ^^

  • Aoshi00

    I’m only at Chapter 2 right now (bicycle), and the story is very interesting, the interface is implemented well too. “Butterfly Effect” definitely sprung to mind ever since I saw the game’s trailer, wonder if it’s as scary as the movie.

    I would have to see if the game is indeed short, because I find myself having less and less time playing games these days and I don’t mind moderate length games at all, as long as the experience is satisftying, 40-50 hrs RPGs seem like a difficult task for me now.

    Among recent games that deal w/ changing the past, like Infinite Loop or Sigma Harmonics, Time Hollow seems to have nailed it as the other two felt extremely repetitive rather than fun. In Sigma Harmonics, the “same” people die over and over in different ways, it feels like Kenny from SouthPark rather than deja vu..

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