Developed by Defrost Games, Project Temporality bills itself as a single player co-op sci-fi puzzler. The whole single player co-op genre is just now starting to become a thing, and Project Temporality may be one of the finest examples we’ve seen to date. Read on to find out why.
My first experience with Project Temporality came last month when I tried out the Desura build of the game. Since then Project Temporality has successfully been Greenlit on Steam and work is being done to polish out any bugs before an official Steam release. Single player co-op is a rather unique genre of game that we don’t see too often. Notable titles of the single player co-op variety include Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and the upcoming Super Time Force (unfortunately Xbox exclusive). As you might imagine, I was pretty excited to try out something unique for a change.
Though you might expect a puzzle game to be lacking in the story department, Project Temporality weaves an interesting tale throughout the game. Each level begins by blending a bit of backstory in with a basic tutorial quite seamlessly. You are some type of human cyborg clone taking part in a series of experiments carried out by a team of scientists. As the levels progress you explore an abandoned science facility in space and uncover the truth behind these experiments and the scientists that study you. If you’re a fan of the Portal series you will probably enjoy the intriguing storyline and challenging puzzles.
Playing the game involves creating rifts in time that produce clones of yourself. Performing an action and then rewinding time back to a previous position forms a loop where your clone is destined to retrace your steps. This allows you to make new decisions based on the clones repeating your previous actions. Opening a door might require you to stand on a weighted button. To keep the button pressed you’d need to create a time clone that stands on the button for you, allowing you to step through to the next sector.
While that may sound pretty easy, Project Temporality’s difficulty ramps up by mixing in elements of timed challenges, skill based platforming, and the use of multiple clones at once to create an deliciously challenging series of puzzles. Thankfully, despite the complicated puzzles, controlling time is ridiculously easy and just requires the left and right mouse buttons. The simple controls allow the player to mostly skip the initial learning phase and jump right into the puzzles. Most players will already be familiar with the ASWD control scheme, so exploration and critical thinking really is emphasized here.
Many of the hardest puzzles for me involved using the in-game timer to plan out my actions so that multiple clones would do steps that would allow me to time my jumps across moving platforms. It’s hard to explain what type of planning needs to happen in your brain to figure it all out. You plan your own moves in the future so that you can travel to the past to complete other moves in the present, it’s kind of like thinking in reverse and forward at the same time. However you look at it, these puzzles really require a unique way of thinking about time and space.
One of the things that stands out about the game is the excellent graphics and immersive environment. Defrost Games obviously went to great lengths to craft a believable scientific research space facility. In many locations it was enjoyable just wandering around the space station investigating the various experiments. For those looking for additional story elements, exploring the facility also reveals e-mails and other such documents that further expand on the campaign.
Of the games we’ve looked at this year, Project Temporality is among the finest examples of unique gameplay and clever design that we’ve seen thus far. Currently available on Desura for $14.99 and coming soon to Steam, Project Temporality is a title that you seriously need to check out.