Have you ever wished you could go back in time and do things differently? Well Time Loader lets you do just that. It tells the story of scientist Adam Wright who suffered a terrible accident as a boy that left him in a wheelchair. Now an adult, Adam invents a small robot and a way to send it back to his childhood in the mid 90s to try and prevent the tragedy.
Adam’s accident occured while out playing in his treehouse. He slipped on a small red toy car which saw him plummet to the ground. You play as his robot which is initially tasked with finding the car and destroying it. Surely if it no longer exists before the accident then everything will be fine? Not exactly.
As many books and films have warned us, meddling with time can have very unexpected consequences. Just the smallest change could kick off a completely different series of events. Trying to avoid too many spoilers, destroying the car is easy enough but it leads to other unforseen events. You soon find yourself trying to change or revert things in order to get the best outcome for Adam.
I really enjoyed the story behind Time Loader and it made the perfect setting for the game. The robot you control is fairly simple with four wheels and a robotic arm. The action is viewed from a side-on perspective and you must find ways to navigate around Adam’s home. You have the added ability of a small jump and can also use your arm to grab and swing yourself or pushing, pulling and throwing items. As you progress you can enhance yourself with new abilities such as a bigger jump, a screwdriver and even a grappling hook. These abilities are essential to gaining access to new areas and solving new puzzles.
The house is full of cool bits of tech from the 90s. Navigating the different rooms often presents a bit of a challenge. Working out how you might traverse a set of bookcases, a kitchen counter full of appliances or dodge the family cat is surprisingly fun. Each obstacle is its own mini physics-based puzzle and a few sections require a bit of experimentation to overcome.
On a first playthrough, Time Loader is going to last most players around 2-3 hours. There’s a fairly linear path through the story but you do have the ability to change what happens. For example, carrying out a certain task such as moving an item might lead to it surviving or being broken in the future. To extend the gameplay it’s possible to travel back to the different points in the game to change things to see if you can get a better conclusion. In all I believe there are four different endings to discover. Further replayability comes in the form of extra snippets of story and hidden symbols to find.
Time Loader is wonderfully presented but I did come across a few issues during my time with the game. At times I found it was possible for certain items to glitch into areas that they weren’t supposed to be. This seems to be a common thing with physics-based games and can be impossible to recover from. However, there is handy reset option on the menu which takes you back to the last checkpoint. Fortunately these are generous and I never lost more than a minute or two of progress.
Time Loader is a joy to play with a fantastic story and some genuinely brilliant puzzles to overcome. Despite a couple of glitches, my only real complaint with the game was that it wasn’t a bit longer. If you enjoy puzzle games then I’d highly recommend you check it out.
Time Loader was reviewed using a digital code provided by the publisher.
Publisher: META Publishing Developer: Flazm Release Date: 10th March 2022 Reviewed On: Xbox Series X Also Available On: PC/Steam, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S