Alright, so perhaps the best way to begin is to admit this is the first installment of the immensely popular Time Mysteries series that I’ve played. I assumed that the previous games weren’t critical to the enjoyment of the current one, and for the most part, it seems as though I was correct.
What I’m hoping is that, by skipping those previous games, I’m missing some piece that makes Time Mysteries: The Final Enigma fun and entertaining. Because it kind of… wasn’t.
I’ve often mentioned to friends and fellow writers and strangers I meet in the elevator that the hardest kind of game to review isn’t one you hated, it’s one you’re just kind of "whatever" about; the ones that don’t speak to you in any fashion, good or bad.
Sadly, Time Mysteries: The Final Enigma is, for me, just such a game. I like magic, and legend, and I’ve enjoyed time travel games before, but I found Time Mysteries: The Final Enigma to be both confusing and overly easy at the same time. Which I guess does take some kind of talent, but I’m not sure it’s one I’d be bragging about.
The main plot of the game is you trying to stop the magical apocalypse by hopping around in time and stopping various piles of… stuff… from hitting the fan. Seems like a good premise, but there’s so much random jumping around from time to time that it gets rather difficult to keep track of, and let me tell you, by the end? I was sick and tired of the time travel sequence. If I never see that stupid clock again, it’ll be too soon.
By the end, I was also fed up with all the cut scenes. I like a good bit of plot development as much as the next girl, but for crying out loud. I couldn’t go five minutes without stumbling into some new secret or directional suggestion via a mini-movie. Why not just let me find a randomly discarded but extremely helpful piece of wadded up paper on the ground every now and again like an ordinary game?
Because of all of the yapping, I was extremely grateful that none of the vocal talent were terrible. And let me tell you, when I heard that first British accent? I was scared for my life (those can go bad so quickly). Luckily, they weren’t at all bad, (except for the screaming... there was a strange amount of screaming, and none of the voice actors were capable of a convincing one... if you can’t do it, don’t) they were just there all the time. Enough is enough, honestly.
I was also strangely perplexed by the simplicity of the puzzles in Time Mysteries: The Final Enigma. In the past, I’ve made it rather clear that I am not the puzzle queen; if a mini-game is capable of stumping a person, you can bet I was stumped. However, in Time Mysteries: The Final Enigma, I felt like a champion: nothing could stop me! Which really should say something about how easy they are. It wasn’t a sticking point for me (I enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of victory), but if you enjoy a challenge, you won’t be finding one here.
On top of the simple puzzles, there are little green sparkles that show up to twinkle a clue; for instance, to indicate in which order you should do something, or where the items that can be manipulated in the hidden object area are. I didn’t ask for them or hit any button to make them show up. They were just… everywhere. Kind of like the cut scenes.
Here I captured one in a hidden object area indicating I should check out that black book. Not exactly subtle (but the area is nice to look at, isn't it?)…
While I am not an expert on the Time Mysteries series, I get the feeling this one was a bit of a flop. It did have its good points, like the stated objectives that gave me a sense of accomplishment, but I felt it was rather bogged down by all the running around between times.
I got really frustrated trying to puzzling out where (and when) to go next. This may not be as much of a problem for people who are really good at remembering where they saw every little thing, but it just made gameplay tedious for me.
In all, Time Mysteries: The Final Enigma was lovely to look at and great to listen to (I adored the background music, most especially in Merlin’s time. So pretty...), but the muddled world and drawn-out storyline just didn’t keep my interest. On a scale of one-to-awesome, I give it a "Meh."