Timelie is a stealth puzzle adventure with a unique timeline mechanic. Each level is meticulously crafted to have several solutions, but even one false move can ruin you. Levels are designed like a grid, and there’s almost a turn-based quality to the gameplay. You’ll move your character in precise ways to collect power ups, open doors, and evade the robot sentries that guard the halls of this world. Simply put, the timeline mechanic allows you to manipulate time. You can see past, present, and future and must use all of these to plan your moves and predict enemy patterns to escape the level. While this gameplay loop was interesting, it often became a source of frustration, with the game’s difficult puzzles being made more difficult by the awkward controls. It was hard enough to control one character, but when the game added another, it became an extremely cumbersome effort. There are also collectibles throughout the game in the form of 15 relics. In order to collect these relics, you’ll need to complete certain levels in particular ways. We only managed to find 3 of these, one of which we found on a level by not killing any robots, but there’s plenty of replay value here after you finish the game’s 5-8 hour runtime.
Timelie is played in an overhead perspective. Simplistic graphics combined with a muted color palette define this world. Pops of neon serve to give the levels a bit more life, as well as differentiating each of the game’s 5 chapters. Character designs are cartoonish, but simple, with rounded features. These characteristics separate them from the harsh world they navigate. While not a critical component, the ambient soundtrack added to the ominous and suspenseful atmosphere of the game.
The story begins with you, a nameless little girl, waking up in an unknown facility that seems to exist in another dimension. You quickly realize that she has powers, and may be the result of some sort of scientific experimentation. She also at one point reunites with her cat who then aids her throughout the game. After that, the rest is pretty much left up to your interpretation. The ending didn’t really explain much, and even with the “secret” ending you can get from collecting all the relics, it’s not exactly clear what happened throughout the game. Much like games such as Limbo or INSIDE, the story was left intentionally vague, and it seems you’re meant to derive whatever meaning you choose.
All that being said, we believe Timelie would be a great choice for hardcore fans of puzzle and stealth games. While the game's awkward controls sometimes lead to frustrating moments, and the game's story left a bit to be desired, we still would recommend this game to fans of the genre.