Although Mortimer Beckett managed to evict the ghosts from his uncle’s house in Mortimer Beckett and the Secrets of Spooky Manor, it opened a time portal has allowed various modern-day objects to pass through and show up in random locations throughout history. In the hidden object / adventure follow-up, Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox, Mortimer must travel to different ages in time to put things right.
Like the first Mortimer Beckett game, items in Time Paradox are split into several individual pieces to find. Once all of the pieces of an item are found, the item is added to your inventory and can be used to either solve a puzzle, such as placing a ladder at the side of the building so you can climb up and read the inscription on a banner on the roof, or to help reverse the time paradox by putting the item back where it belongs, such as placing the bunch of eggs into the bird’s nest. Once Mortimer has fixed all of the irregularities in a scene, he’ll receive a piece of Uncle Jerome’s Time Bomb, which is the key to sealing the portals once and for all.
There are eight different ages to explore in Time Paradox, ranging from the purely historical (like the French Revolution and Ancient Egypt) to locations where the lines between history and legend start to become blurred. It’s fun to be able to interact with and help various larger-than-life figures, like bringing King Louis XVI a disguise so he can flee the palace, or returning Hades, God of the Underworld’s lost magical helmet.
Scenes like a rowdy Viking tavern, or two boys playing in front of a Marionette theater in the streets of Paris are wonderful, but even more clever are the unexpected ways that the effects of the time paradox shows up. It’s hard not to do a double-take when you see a London Underground sign resting on a staircase in 1,000 B.C. Greece, or the iconic Big Ben clock sticking out of the middle of the Nile River. Not only are the scenes visually rich and thoughtfully constructed, but the audio accompaniment is nuanced and appropriate to each scene.
The scenes are also ingeniously interconnected by the fact that in Time Paradox, not all of the misplaced items are confined to the same room. Instead, puzzles and objects are spread out across several scenes in the same historical age. Some locations even allow you to travel to sub-locations that branch off from them, like clicking on a boat moored to a dock to row out into the river.
Time Paradox uses an unlimited hints system that recharges gradually over time, and from the world map of a particular age you can look at how many items are still waiting to be found in each specific scene. With these aids, it’s possible to become briefly stumped in the game, but never truly stuck. There are also no time limits, so you can take all the time you need to work out a particularly taxing puzzle.
One of the biggest complaints with these types of games is that they simply aren’t long enough. Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox is definitely longer than the first game was , and not only that, but items will appear in different places when you play through the game a second or third time, which is a pretty good incentive to do so.
The game ends on a pretty big cliff-hanger. Now, normally I’m not a fan of these "To Be Continued" endings because sometimes, for various reasons, the developer never ends up giving us a "Continued" and we’re left hanging forever! However, I think it’s safe to say that given the quality apparent in Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox, this is a series that’s going to be around for quite a while.