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May 2021


Platform(s): PC
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Urnique Studio
Release Date: May 21, 2020


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PC Preview - 'Timelie'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on April 15, 2020 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

In Timelie, you manipulate the timeline to jump backward and forward in time to unravel the mysteries of its surreal world.

When the demo of Timelie begins, you're playing as an unnamed blonde girl. She awakens in a strange facility full of empty offices and strange robots that seem hostile. The goal is escape. The gameplay is turn-based, so you click and point where you want your protagonist to go on a map. She'll move along the guided path until she can't anymore or until a robot catches sight of her and moves in for the kill.

Fortunately for your plucky heroine, she has time on her side — literally. Rather than playing in real time, your protagonist uses precognition to "envision" her plans to go through the level. (Think something like Katana Zero.) This means that if something goes wrong, she can "rewind" and take a different step. Your eventual goal is to form a seamless, stealthy path through the level to reach the exit and escape.

It isn't as easy as being stealthy, though. In the demo, we ran into a few interesting dangers. One such danger is colored doors that are connected to colored switch panels. Opening and closing the doors without being spotted by your robot antagonists is key. Sometimes, you need to create a pathway, and other times, you need to block a robot from seeing you. Being seen isn't instant death, and you can sometimes use it to your advantage to trick a robot into a trap.

Rewinding isn't your only time power. There are also glowing crystals that give you one charge of a different rewind ability that lets you repair broken objects in the environment, such as bridges. You need to reach one of the crystals to use it, so that entails some extra planning. There are two kinds of crystals: blue and purple. Blue crystals are added to your inventory and used as part of the overall level. Purple crystals reset the entire level but repair certain purple objects in the environment to open up a new path to escape.

Things can't stay simple. Further in the demo, you run into an adorable orange cat. At first, you need to help the cat escape from what seems to be a dangerous orange thing. Not long afterward, you gain the ability to control the cat, effectively giving you two players. The cat is … well, a cat. It can run around, meow, and get into small spaces. The last two abilities are more important than they sound. A cat's meow (or mere presence) attracts the robots to distract them from our protagonist. The ability to fit into small spaces means the cat can attract attention and then escape. You can swap between both characters on the timeline to coordinate their movements.

This opens up some pretty interesting puzzles. One has you playing a game of "keep away" with a robot that's on its way to unleash fellow robots from a closet. You must sneak into a control room full of buttons while the cat distracts the robot. Once you have control, you use the cat to lure a robot into a closed room that has a convenient cat-sized hole as an escape hatch. Press the button and boom, the robot is locked up, and the cat and human can escape. Some of the puzzles require simultaneous movements, using the cat to distract while the human moves. Being a second off can spell doom.

Timelie has the makings of an adorable game. The puzzles are intuitive, and the only time I got stuck in the demo was because I was overthinking it. There are multiple ways to solve puzzles, depending on how you combine the characters' abilities. We only had a brief taste of the gameplay, but what we saw left us hungry for more. More mechanics and puzzles are on the way in the full version. As of this writing, Timelie has no release date, but it's definitely one to keep an eye on.

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