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.