by December 2, 2021 @ 2:00 pm
Reviewed on Switch
There’s an undeniable-yet-welcome pressure that comes with playing a time loop video game. Maybe it’s the routine it forces you to build (and subsequently break). Or perhaps it’s just the rush of it. In any case, you typically know what you’re getting into when you play a game that runs on a time loop mechanic — it’s something that just works (if you enjoy this specific mechanic), even if you can feel the weight of the world coming down on your shoulders.
Treasures of the Aegean from Undercoders is definitely in line with the typical time loop tropes, but the way it just flows thanks to its controls, parkour platforming, and map makes it super addictive and strangely relaxing.
In Search for Treasure… and a World Map
Treasures of the Aegean follows a couple treasure hunters as they scour an island for ancient — and expensive — historical relics. The island is shrouded in mystery, and you can discover more about its original rulers, as well as the back stories of the protagonists, the more you play and uncover. While this stuff can be interesting, I was never fully invested in any of the characters or the lore as it was a bit too wordy with little substance.
That said, I got legitimately hooked on just uncovering more and more of the map in Treasures of the Aegean. Though this game is definitely not a Metroidvania, unlocking more of the map the longer I played was like playing one of those games and seeing more of the world the further I progressed. It was a little addictive, and it made me want to visit different areas with each new loop.
Speaking of which, the loops in Treasures of the Aegean were initially capped at 15 minutes. At that point, a volcanic eruption would prompt player character Marie to evacuate the island, only for the game to start a new loop, now with the parts of the map I’d explored fully visible on the map screen. True to its title, there are various treasures hidden all over the island, and the more of these you collect, the more time is added to the total you’re given at the start of a loop.
Having more than 15 minutes to explore the island means visiting more areas, finding more treasures, and solving some tricky puzzles. There are actually a few of the latter, and you’ll have to figure out solutions to these to move the story along and reach the conclusion, which can take about 10 hours total.
Satisfying Parkour Platforming
A big part of why Treasures of the Aegean is so much fun to play is the actual platforming. Marie’s animations are rapid and smooth, and the controls work incredibly well. You’ll wall-jump, wall-run, hop from platform to platform, and slide under low rocks. It’s a lot of fun, and the mechanics provide you with some truly functional and enjoyable moves to explore the game’s large map.
Though you won’t take damage or die if you fall from a high distance, you will lose time — one minute to be specific. This may not seem too bad, but if you’re rushing to solve a major puzzle toward the end of a run, you’ll wish you’d been more careful and never lost that precious minute.
Along the way you’ll encounter some hostile characters. These are usually armed, and though their bullets won’t kill you, they will also take a minute off the timer if you’re hit. Thankfully, these characters aren’t too fast to react, and there are so many platforms around you that it’s usually pretty easy to avoid getting hit.
As cool as it is getting around the map and just discovering more of the game world as you go, Treasures of the Aegean does suffer from a few design pitfalls. For starters, a lot of the puzzles can be a bit obtuse. Yes, subsequent runs mean things will start to click as you go deeper, but even then, sometimes the solutions can be a little bit too vague. And while treasures aren’t reset, a lot of key items are, which means you might have to do some backtracking, which can be a nuisance.
A Stylish, Fast-Paced Platformer
Treasures of the Aegean features a cool hand-drawn comic book aesthetic. The colors are vivid and pop nicely, and everything is richly detailed with both thin and hard outlines that help to create a slick visual style. The game’s music also works well, with interesting instrumentation giving the ancient island an authentic vibe.
There’s a lot of fun to be had with Treasures of the Aegean. This game probably won’t appeal to folks who aren’t fans of time loop mechanics, but if you’re into this style of game and want some entertaining, polished platforming action, it’s certainly worth a look.
Score: 7 out of 10
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