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Game #3479
Hall of Belated Fame Inductee  Time: All Things Come to an End    View all Top Dogs in this genre
Interactive Fiction   Conventional

Rating: 8 (20 votes)

Time: All Things Come to an End box cover

Time: All Things Come to an End screenshot
Time: All Thing Come to An End is a tough, puzzle-oriented IF game that boasts a lot of challenging-but-always-logical puzzles, but suffers from very unforgiving design. Specifically, you can get irrevocably “stuck” in some places if you didn’t collect the right inventory item earlier in the game, losing a lot of progress at best. Carl Muckenhoupt summarizes the game’s shortcomings very well in this short review on his site:

"...a time-travel game with a Doctor Who-ish story involving a dystopian future, the ruins of Atlantis, Nazi England, Time's Guardian and Time's Enemy. A huge game with diverse settings, but ruined by unduly hard puzzles and bad design. If you don't know why "linearity" is considered a bad thing in adventure games, give this one a try – it persistently locks the player into small areas, where you must already have the right equipment (often hidden where it's easily missed) to do the thing that takes you to the next small area (often within a time limit). No going back to regions you visited before, either – perhaps this is meant as indicative of the nature of time, but it hardly makes a good game. Other than that, competently built, with a high code-to-bug ratio, weak prose (it describes things as "feeling evil" so often it becomes funny), and a few nice puzzles amidst all the mediocre ones.”

Like all Andy Philips games before Heroine’s Mantle, TATCTAE suffers from being far too unforgiving to the player, with an extremely linear plot and even parser (many puzzles can only be solved by wording your sentence in one specific way). It’s one of those games that I had more fun playing with a walkthrough comfortably in hand, than trying to solve entirely on my own. If you want to play it, be prepared to save and restore often, because it’s all “guess, die, then restore”. But shortcomings notwithstanding, Time is still a Top Dog with some very tough, but also quite interesting, puzzles that managed to hold my attention to the very end – walkthrough in hand, of course. Recommended, but check out Graham Nelson's Jigsaw instead for a better-written and more forgiving time travel title.

Reviewed by: Underdogs

Designer: Andy Phillips
Developer: Freeware
Publisher: Freeware
Year: 1996
Software Copyright: Andy Phillips
Theme: Science Fiction, Historical
Multiplayer:  
None that we know of
System Requirements: Inform
Where to get it:   IF Archive
Related Links:  
Links:    
If you like this game, try: Jigsaw, Time Quest, First Things First

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