The thirteenth episode of a short series on games I discovered at EGX Rezzed 2016.
Now Time Is An Island from Ste Curran and Graham Spence is an interesting one because it’s well known that time is actually a flat circle. Okay so it’s… it’s a game.
Well, It’s a mini-golf game. Your ball, in this case, is a big compass. Your job is to grab all of the coloured keywords and get to the “exit” – but you have only a limited number of shots at your disposal. Losing any keyword to a seagull or a train will end the level immediately.
No, actually it’s a word game. At the end of a map, you’ll be greeted with a text fragment. The more words you pick up, the more fleshed out the fragment becomes.
Scratch that, it’s really a game about history. Each map shows the island at different points of its history, so you can see how it evolved over time. Each rescued text fragment tells you a little more.
The trouble was only two maps were available to play, which means it was impossible to engage with the deeper aspects – the text fragments and the historical story – and the second map was really hard; you were more likely to quit than persist. A player would sit down and be done in just a few minutes.
So there’s still work to be done on getting the concept nailed down as well as game feel – while contours on the map would affect the path of the ball, the physical relationship between the map and the ball felt loose, unpredictable. You would let the ball fly and hope everything worked out. This might sound negative but I don’t write previews about titles I’m not interested in; these are merely gripes about the state of the demo not the concept.
Time Is An Island is a curious proposition and I’m intrigued to see what the final, complete vision will look like. I spoke to Spence at length about the game and discerned plenty of big ideas were behind it: the team are still in the process of translating those ideas into a game. Also, pro tip, ask Spence what he knows about maps, because he’s literally a mine of information on the subject.
You can find out more from via Time Is An Island website.
Interested in the other games I dabbled with? Check out the series index!