Timeframe takes ten seconds and spreads it across ten minutes. It just so happens to be the final ten seconds of a civilization. No matter what happens, a meteor is going to crash into your Earth and the experience will end. Where will you go and spend your final moments?
Timeframe is more of an artistic expression than an actual game. Spread across the environment there are relics you can discover. Each has a symbol and some text about the world you live in but it barely paints a corner of the picture. The story is very much around making your peace with things and experiencing the slow-motion apocalypse as the tiniest of balls of light from the sky emerges as a flaming ball of death soaring through the sky.
Visually the game is achingly beautiful. The low polygon approach gives an angular and alien feel to the landscape and the shading of a sunset or sunrise makes everything all the more pretty. However, what makes the experience is its atmospheric soundtrack. Sound is constantly there but as you approach new relics or points of interest a musical cue calls to you to explore it. Be it the minimal acoustic guitar or the more dramatic lamenting string arrangements – it goes right for your guts and doesn’t let up – especially when the end is nigh.
If I could put it in an emotional context, it’s like a ten-minute version of Journey where you can only play any two of the ten levels available at one time. This is because you can’t traverse the landscape quickly enough to see all the relics in a few plays. That gives some replay value but sadly the very nature of its bare-bones landscape is also why it’s difficult to recommend the game outside those people who appreciate the more artistic and emotional impact of something. It doesn’t mean those who do are better – we all appreciate different things. I personally love returning to Timeframe once a week and finding a new place to watch the world end in peace and tranquillity. There’s something cathartic about it that heals the soul. It is certainly not for everyone.
Enjoy a single playthrough of Timeframe below:
Timeframe is an emotional and beautiful experience and as an experience, it is utterly worthwhile. I do not regret buying it and have had a marvellously macabre time with it - although that may say more about me than the game itself! However, the experience is also a game that gives you so little to explore and discover. Beyond the 14 artefacts to discover, there was a civilisation that is teased at but never unveiled and therein lies Timeframes biggest problem. Timeframe aims at being Journey crossed with Source Code but delivers Journey crossed with the demo scene.
One of the best (if short) game soundtracks of 2015.
If it clicks with you, Timeframe is a genuinely emotional experience time and again
So much is left unanswered meaning you'll never really know about the world you inhabit
Game seems less stable when you use a game controller
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