[Video Game/Visual Novel Review]: Time Hollow

Time Hollow DS vn video game visual novel

Developer – Tenky

Publisher – Konami

Platforms – DS

Length2-10 Hours

 Believe it or not, reviews actually vary in how difficult they are to write. The ones you have strong feelings about, be they good, bad or otherwise, practically write themselves. It’s the titles you don’t care about either way that are tough to review. Time Hollow is one of those games. Though it’s average on pretty much every scale you can think of, it’s not bad and may be worth a go if you’re really hurting for things to do.

 Ethan Kairos is a normal teenage boy – no hidden past, powers or secrets of any kind. On waking up one day, however, Ethan discovers that his parents have been missing for the past 12 years, despite him having seen them only yesterday. Ethan deduces that time itself has been rewritten and it’s up to him to put things right. Using his (newly discovered) family’s legacy, the Hollow Pen, Ethan is able to open holes to the past, making small changes to alter the future. If he can avoid rewriting the lives of everyone else around him, he may just be able to save his parents.

Time Hollow DS vn video game visual novel

 And there isn’t much more to it than that. Time Hollow’s story runs for about four hours, telling a very compact tale that barely scratches the time travel/alteration concept. Some of the changes in time are dubious at best, and I’m sure that if I bothered to think about it I could poke holes in most of Time Hollow’s plot. It’s not a bad story by any means but it fails to grip you and keep you interested enough to care about what’s going on. There isn’t much at all in the way of character development, with Ethan working alone for the most part, though I suppose the story isn’t one that tries to focus on characters anyway.

 Whenever there’s an alteration in past events Ethan is shown a few flashbacks to relevant scenes and then has to figure out what has changed and how to fix it. This is done by exploring the town and gathering clues as to what happened in the past, before moving to the scene of one of your flashbacks and opening a hole in time. Though there’s a limit to the number of holes you can open in each chapter, I never even came close to running out and you can find spare time energy just lying around anyway. Once you’ve opened the hole you need to interact with things on the other side to bring time back on track; it may be leaving a note behind with suggestions on how to make a café successful, or something more direct like tightening the knot holding cargo on a truck.

Time Hollow DS vn video game visual novel

 In general it’s very easy to figure out what you have to do to progress, with the game practically shoving a glowing neon sign in your face. In some cases, however, the gameplay devolves into searching every single location multiple times in order to find someone or something that isn’t even a little bit obvious. In any case, you never have to think particularly hard while you’re playing Time Hollow. If you’re after a challenge then this isn’t your game.

While the graphics and sound are nothing special for a DS game, there are a number of animated cutscenes that I enjoyed. They’re not very long and nothing much happens in them, but I was still happy that they were there.

 Summary – Exceedingly average (is that an oxymoron?) in every way, Time Hollow is probably only worth playing as a palate cleanser in between titles you really care about. Sometimes with games like this I’ll mention something about unrealized potential but Time Hollow aims for the middle ground and hits it dead on, so there’s not even much to say in that respect.

Score: 5/10 – Average

Time Hollow DS vn video game visual novel

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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16 Responses to [Video Game/Visual Novel Review]: Time Hollow

  1. garejei says:

    I beat this when it first came out many, many moons ago (before I really got into visual novels) and even then I thought it was average. Besides, for interactive VNs there are far better options on the DS, like 999 or every Ace Attorney ever.

    • Silvachief says:

      I haven’t really given Ace Attorney a go, though it’s definitely on my list. As for 999…I didn’t really enjoy it. However, I would be the first to say that I didn’t play it with the right mindset.

  2. Alex says:

    The ones you have strong feelings about, be they good, bad or otherwise, practically write themselves. It’s the titles you don’t care about either way that are tough to review.

    Haha damn right. For good things, it’s easy to say blah, blah and blah were done well, and for bad things it’s even easier IMHO to say this, this and that were done poorly or could be improved in this way. The most difficult ones are “eh, it’s average… but I can’t think of much more to say”. For me, those reviews often involve fiddling with my pen and too much procrastinating 😛

    • Silvachief says:

      Yeah, the average reviews for me always just have a story -> characters -> technical stuff formula, whereas the more interesting reviews mesh them all together in a way that flows.
      When you honestly don’t care about something either way…it’s tough =/

  3. Lazarinth says:

    Generally if I have apathy for something I try to pick holes in it, if I can do this I dislike it more, if I find it hard to I tend like it more. You have to be real nit-picky for this.

    • Silvachief says:

      I guess when i’m apathetic about something I just want to drop it and not bother with it anymore XD Time Hollow probably did have some plot holes but I didn’t care enough to examine them.

      • Lazarinth says:

        ‘drop it and not bother with it anymore’. I can see how writing a review for something you’d want to do that to could be painful but if that’s the case I’m sure there would be things funner to write about… or had you been planning to post this well in advance as an example of something you didn’t have very strong opinions about?

        Oh yeah and I liked the ‘exceedingly average’ rating, another one like that I thought was funny was the comedian Dylan Moran looking out his window, shielding his eyes dramatically and complaining that the weather was ‘fierce mild!’ XD

        • Silvachief says:

          Part of me wants to say that you can’t properly review something unless you finish it, so I have a duty to finish each and every game I play so others can be informed. The truth is that I knew it was a short game and it wasn’t bad enough to drop outright, so I figured I may as well get a review out of it. I believe the only visual novels i’ve dropped are 999 and Sengoku Rance.

          I wonder if I should make every 5/10 “Exceedingly Average” XD
          I’ve got a pretty dry sense of humor so that kind of stuff appeals to me.

  4. Kai says:

    I struggled hard when I was trying to review Time Hollow too, lol. It’s truly an average of an average game, the gameplay is simple, the plot is okay, characters are okay… and that’s about it… xD

    Although a little bit out of topic, I find that a number of DS games like to make use of it’s own console’s feature as one of the pivotal plot points in the game. Time Hollow’s one of them, the game has a pen where you can draw circles and have the character reached out an alternate time within that circle. I bet the developers get that pen idea from DS own’s stylus pen. Then there is also Devil Survivor’s COMPs, which look strikingly similar to DS’s own design.

    • Silvachief says:

      That’s an interesting though and you’re probably right. Developers probably think that it will make players feel more connected to and involved with the game…which is most likely right. I can’t think of any other examples of that i’ve come across though.

  5. awesomecurry says:

    I liked this game when I first played it, but I was in middle school or something and let’s just say that I wasn’t very harsh on video game stories or mechanics then..

    Recently I replayed the game upon finding it for $2 and found it to be much more shallow and dull than I remember. Trying to break your nostalgia goggles is not fun.

    • Silvachief says:

      I’m really not looking forward to replaying old games and finding that they don’t live up to my memories of them. I’ve only had it happen once so far with a PS2 game called Shinobido, which I loved the first time I played it >.<

      • awesomecurry says:

        I’m generally too scared to replay games I liked from over 5 years ago, and ruin my memories of enjoying them n case they turn out to be terrible now.

        At least my recent replay of Ace Attorney was still fun.

  6. It’s okay title, but barely felt finished it due to how uninteresting the story was. Did make pretty good use of the DS features, but that was about it of what I liked about it.

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