This sandbox platformer has a distinct style but its freedom and lack of structure also tended to make it easy to put down
This is one of those games that has me torn on how to review it. On the one hand I tend to think it’s unfair to negatively review games for disagreeing with a choice they’ve made, but on the other in my mind when that ends up negatively influencing your engagement with the experience you’re obligated to say so. The movement from games having more well-defined and linear styles to open world is an interesting one, and opens the floor to new experiences. That said, I don’t necessarily think it always makes for an improvement in play, and there are times when I suspect it may be more of a solution to the problem of properly designing the play experience than anything. That’s definitely how I felt bouncing and bashing my way through Chronicles. While at first the sense of freedom was interesting and it was cool to simply make my own way, it didn’t take long until I hit a few different issues with the design. First, I tended to find myself moving in circles a bit, wasting some time on meandering. Second, stages felt a bit like an ADHD fever dream of stuff sort of flung together more than designed. Third, and perhaps most critically, every time I put it down I found I was missing a compulsion to pick it back up again, since it felt just like more “stuff” was waiting for me which I knew would be hit or miss. I can see where there’s an audience that could enjoy the freewheeling style, but for me I’d rather hit up any number of other indie platformers instead.
Justin Nation, Score: