A touch of steampunk and a touch of the arcane.
Timeless: The Lost Castle is every bit as fluid and dynamic as its predecessor, Timeless: The Forgotten Town. Nothing feels stuck in place in this game, you just hop from puzzle to puzzle, genre-twisting location to genre-twisting location, hoping to find out a little more about these strange dreams you’ve been having or that mysterious orb. Plus, it’s got wizards and airships. You can’t go wrong with wizards and airships.
What’s worse than your flight crashing on an island inhabited by polar bears and a smoke monster? For starters, a red-robed wizard appearing in the aisle of your plane, searching passengers for “the one” while lightning emanates from his hands. Even more disturbing is the fact that you recognize the character; his image has appeared to you in numerous dreams, pleading for you to save a girl whose body is trapped in an orb. Before you can make sense of things you find yourself on an airship with a castle looming in the snowy mountains below. There, perhaps, you can track down this hooded figure and finally get some answers!
Timeless: The Lost Castle combines unusual story elements that make for a refreshingly different kind of setting. For starters, a lot of things in the game scream “steampunk,” but then you come across dark magic, arcane sorcerers and ancient brotherhoods who may as well have been lifted from the pages of the Da Vinci Code. Unusual, yes, but it works very well together and makes the game all the more interesting to experience.
Gameplay is pretty standard for a casual hidden object adventure, mixing the occasional mini-game and puzzle scene between rounds of exploration and laundry list item hunting. One unique aspect to Timeless is the little white circle on your inventory that allows you to combine certain items by dragging them to the platform. It’s pretty obvious which two things are going to fit together, but having a little control over your inventory is always a welcome touch.
Hidden object scenes are both simple and fair, with nothing scaled to ridiculous proportions or turned opaque just for the sake of low visibility. Most scenes feature an interactive item or two, but nothing more complex than opening a case or using a key when the cursor switches to a hand icon. Outside the HOG scenes, you’ll also need to keep an eye out for items stashed in unusual places, so even when you’re wandering around, you still have to be an item sleuth.
It’s easy to see that Timeless: The Lost Castle isn’t out to remake the hidden object genre. The good news is that you won’t care. The game is so well-made it’s hard to dislike any particular aspect of it, even if most of it has been said and done before. The graphics are crisp, the music is enjoyable without being intrusive. There’s no voice acting, which you may or may not list as an upside, but something about the relative silence pulls you into the snowy world all the more firmly.
Timeless: The Lost Castle draws a lot of basic design elements from its predecessor, and in this case that’s a very good thing. What The Forgotten Town lacked The Lost Castle makes up for, adding a few extra doses of originality and dropping in an interesting plot and setting to keep you wondering what’s going to show up next.