by Camrin Santchi
reviewed on PC
Time is always a finicky thing to be messing around with, countless forms of media have shown just how scary but cool control over it is. From the Back to the Future trilogy to the Prince of Persia game series, time is always an interesting mechanic to witness.
This includes Ageless, a new puzzle platformer that makes use of time impacting the environment around the player. Gamers play as Kiara, a woman who feels lost without a purpose in life. So, she began to seek a ‘Gift’, a strange and unusual power that may give her some idea of what she should do with herself. This Gift takes the form of a strange, golden magic that follows Kiara and allows her to age living things around her, forwards and backwards, even learning how to become ‘Ageless’, an ability that lets Kiara dash great distances when she comes into contact with a living thing. Said creatures or plants being sent back one life stage as she uses its energy to fuel this dash.
The controls of Ageless are tight, though inertia can be rather tricky to get used to, especially when using the time mechanics. For example, if gamers try to shoot a bow during a run animation instead of standing still, Kiara will keep her forward momentum (But in slow motion, since aiming a bow causes the world to slow down around Kiara) and may go hurtling off a ledge, while the player is focused on aiming at a specific target. Along with this, certain sections of the game have inertia-based platforming where the player actively needs to stop trying to control Kiara’s movement, and let events unfold.
The story is one that some may feel to be rather personal. Kiara struggles to find a purpose, and once she acquires her Gift she feels the same as she always had, filled with uncertainty about a path to follow. In the village of Remnant, an NPC jokingly asks if she would like a grand quest, causing Kiara to gush about finally having a purpose to fulfill herself before realizing the NPC actually did NOT have a quest to give her. Anyone who has struggled to find a purpose or goal will feel some emotional resonance with Kiara and relate to her struggle, the way she struggles to be motivated and pursue a worthy goal.
Precision is key to Ageless, and gamers will often be thankful for the rooms that provide checkpoints, since it may take a few times to learn just how to solve Ageless’s puzzles. Often gamers will need to try a specific part of a puzzle again and again, in order to finally get it just right, which some may find exhausting or irritating if they figured out how to solve a puzzle multiple attempts ago, but are still struggling with the precision necessary. I personally had several difficulties in this regard, where I figured out the answer to a puzzle long before I actually managed to complete the puzzle because of the amount of technical precision and timing that is required.
Of course, one must also keep in mind the aesthetics of the game, which Ageless more than deserves props for. A beautiful, nostalgic pixel style that harkens back to 2-D platformers of old, every one of the worlds in the game looks different, from the mystical mysterious world of Pandora to the lush forests of Remnant. Each world is filled with different creatures and plants that Kiara can manipulate to explore and traverse environments, making differences not only visual but mechanical. Additionally, the music of Ageless is unique. Sometimes it will get repetitive after extended periods in the same area, but I can honestly say it was never annoying. Though there is unfortunately not much more to say about it than that.
Make it a good one
All in all, Ageless is a very enjoyable game with clearly creative mechanics that allow fresh air to be breathed into the world that is puzzle based platforming. The necessary precision to accomplish some tasks is about the only real flaw I can find in the game. The pros to the game far outweigh the cons, with the pixel designs and gorgeous backdrops, the unique mechanics, a story that feels very relatable, and a consistently shifting style where each world of the game feels fresh and new, I can honestly say that Ageless feels timeless, and proves that fooling around with time is a concept that won’t grow old anytime soon if done right.
Follow us on Instagram for reviews, news and more.
Beautiful Aesthetics, Relatable Story, Unique Mechanics
Precision is Mandatory