[NDS Review] Time Hollow

Time Hollow is a point and click adventure game from Konami for the
Nintendo DS written by Junko Kawano of Shadow of Destiny and Suikoden
IV fame. The story is about a young high school kid named Ethan Kairos.
He lives with his mom and dad, until one night he has a horrible
nightmare. During the nightmare, his mom and dad are trapped in a fire,
and escape through a portal. After awaking from the dream, he finds
that his parents have been missing for twelve years and he now lives
with his uncle. His pet cat, Sox, shows up with a pen tied to his neck,
and Ethan learns that the pen has the ability to alter time. With the
power of the Hollow Pen, Ethan must solve the mystery about his
parents’ disappearance, as well as fix many other problems that occur
during his search.

Time Hollow is your standard point and click adventure, in which you
basically travel around the town in which Ethan lives, searching each
area and conversing with other characters. The game utilizes a system
called Flashbacks, that you get each time a change in time occurs. With
each scenario, you will need to find enough clues and information to
verify the information in these Flashbacks. Most clues are fairly
straightforward, but there are times where you may check an area
multiple times until you find the item or information you need.

Once you have verified the Flashbacks necessary for the current
scenario, you will take control of the Hollow Pen to create a Time
Portal. You will then go to the area of town you will need to open the
portal and adjust time. Once you are there, your Hollow Pen will glow
and you will then use your Stylus to create a Time Portal. You will
have to draw a circle over an area on screen that looks different than
the similar image on the top screen. You will have to be cautious as to
not make too many portals, as you only have a certain amount of them to
open during each scenario.

This game is mostly static images of characters and backgrounds, with a
few full motion video cut scenes between scenarios. The drawings of the
characters are very well done, and character designs are very pleasing.
The background artwork looks beautiful and truly sets the tone of the
game. The FMVs look like they are taken right out of an anime, and will
please any otaku. The soundtrack to the game sets just the right mood
to each scene and event that occurs. The one drawback is the voice
acting chosen for Time Hollow. The voice acting is very reminiscent of
poor cheesy anime dubs from the ’80s and ’90s, and can definitely cause
users to cringe when some lines are delivered.

Time Hollow isn’t heavy on gameplay and will sometimes frustrate the
player with a lack of direction at times, but in the end it is a very
solid title. With beautiful artwork, a well-written story, and
wonderfully animated cut scenes, this is one of the hidden gems on the
DS. The game offers added replay value, by allowing you to play through
again for some changes to the story and the “real” ending to the game.
I highly recommend this game to fans of Phoenix Wright or Hotel Dusk,
as this will not fail to disappoint.

Rating: 8.0/10

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