Review: “Chronotron”

There have been a few time-travel related games in recent years, but here’s a nice casual Flash game that uses the concept: it is a platformer called Chronotron. You play as white and red robot, with a damaged time machine (which looks suspiciously like Doctor Who’s Tardis!). In each level, the objective is to find a time circuit, and get back to your time machine. Easy… right?

The problem is that there are some impossible obstacles, such as a lift which only goes up as long as you stand on a switch, and that switch is on the other side of the level. There aren’t always any crates lying around to hold the switch down, and you don’t have any friends there to help you. So the solution is obvious, isn’t it? Cooperate with multiple versions of yourself from different moments in time!

In that first level with the lift and the switch, you go and hold down the switch for a while, and then return to your time machine, and go back in time. You emerge at the exact same moment when the past version of yourself emerged from the time machine in the first place, so your past self will go and hold down the switch for a while. Your present self can then get on the lift, fetch the time circuit, and go back to the time machine. When all versions of yourself return, the level is complete.

It sounds weird and convoluted, but it’s good fun. It’s a really nice concept, implemented in a nice and simple way. The developers really boiled it down to the central challenge, which is planning ahead. It involves some lateral thinking and imagination to figure out some levels, and then there’s timing issues to get right, but it’s fairly satisfying when you do.

The graphics are fairly basic, but nicely made. I’m not a big fan of the audio — the sound effects seem a little cliche, and the music is a little cheesy, but it’s all good quality nonetheless. Interface all seems to work nicely, and it’s all-round a pleasure to play.

Highly recommended.

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