Game Review | Time Loader – not just physics, emotions too

01 April 2022 - 15:27
By Cody Nery Thomson
A story-driven, physics-based puzzle platformer with tiny time-traveling robots.
Image: Supplied A story-driven, physics-based puzzle platformer with tiny time-traveling robots.

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From the teaser trailer I watched, to the hors d’oeuvre blurb I was initially given, Time Loader looked like an interesting little physics puzzle platformer that I could sink a couple of hours into and enjoy the cleverly designed levels. Little did I know Time Loader would be taking me back in time to play with my emotions instead.

As said previously, Time Loader is a physics-based puzzle platformer and I’ve always enjoyed those when they’re done well. There’s just something about meddling with “science” that appeals to me, and to get to do it in a game is all the better. Taking on the role of a homemade RC bot, you’ll be jumping, pulling, levering, rolling, and swinging your way across an array of really well-designed levels that on its own is quite appealing. Without giving away too much of the story, the game’s levels are centred around a household, each level being a different room in the house and each one is designed so well, that it almost feels like your own house in a way. I enjoyed rolling the wheels of the bot over different items in the house for each one to play a different sound depending on the material it was made from, or to find the tools lying around in the garage only to mimic my very own garage tools, that I definitely pack away, all the time always. Instead of just turning the canoe upside down and creating a flat surface for you to ride over, they had it facing right-way-up and you could drive through the seat of the canoe. I know it’s something small, but it’s these small things that make the world feel more real.

Another way the designers have made the world feel more real, is that every move you make in the game impacts how the rest of the story unfolds and how the levels to come are laid out. It made me always wonder if I was doing “the right thing” to get the desired result, or if there was perhaps another way it could be done and at the end of it all, there were definitely things I could’ve done differently. The game can end in 3 ways, and the way I played my game out had me feeling like I could’ve made some better life choices. Along the way, I experienced a few moments that caught me by surprise and felt like the game had a little bit of a darker side to it than just some neat RC bot with a Wall-E-esque face trying to save the world. I may or may not have killed some things and may or may not have accidentally caused some form of relationship breakdown, but I was just some innocent little bot from the future, surely it couldn’t have all been me… right?

In any case, I’ll be taking another swing at Time Loader, hoping for a different playthrough with a slightly sunnier middle and a possible happy ending. But I can’t promise that any of even exists, after-all it is time travel we’re dealing with here.

Time Loader gave me a lot more than I expected. If you’re looking for something to kill your Load Shedding hours with, grab this on the Switch and you won’t be disappointed. It’s got a bunch of fun puzzles to get through and is just the right length to be satisfying.

Unexpected Story
Cute Robot
Cool Levels
Short and Sweet (Well, maybe not too sweet)

Sometimes I couldn’t grab a thing because it got stuck in a ditch, but I figured it out eventually
Maybe too short for some? But it feels just right to me