The JRPG adventure, launching this week on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, takes the player to the urban town of Clocknee during a new millennium festival celebrating 30 years since the so-called Soulman saved the town. As soon as the fireworks stop, Clocknee suddenly comes to a standstill and it’s up to Sherry to travel back, find out what happened and restore time.
(And cap a Bitch if necessary!)
Sherry goes looking for clues and discovers a secret basement below her father’s office where she finds a time-travelling Beymax-like robot named Isaac – Intelligent Spacetime Acceleration Array Circumventor (A good game of; what came first, the acronym or the description?). Isaac has been programmed to protect Sherry but we are also accompanied by Sherry’s friend Pegreo; think Chuckie from Rugrats thanks to his red hair and “But Tommy I’m scared!” expression. Later on, during one time-travelling jaunt, we’re also joined by two strangely familiar looking young guys and Clocknee’s answer to Doc Brown, Prof. Cheatstein.(Fabulousness First!)
All of the machines in the town have suddenly come to life, mainly in the form of soul-sucking enemies like a mean old blender or an angry vending machine. Special mention must go to Iron Ma’am, literally a cute pink clothes iron who makes jokes about her “hot bod” keeping everyone’s clothes fresh and clean. Just wonderful.Equipped with a modded hairdryer to deliver some swift headshots, the turn-based combat is fun and never too challenging. Each character has a number of new skills they can acquire and you can add items such as different hats and shoes which each offer enhanced abilities. For our robot companion, you will collect gears throughout the town which can be used for upgrades at Pegreo’s father’s workshop. Side note; his name is Dumpty, by the way, because life wasn’t already difficult enough for this easily startled tinkerer. You can also purchase items using in-game currency earned through battles including health packs in the form of cookies and macaroons and juices that will boost various elements of combat.While enjoyable, the main issue I had with this game was Sherry herself. She’s described by one character as an “always energetic girl” when really, she’s a bit of a brat. This could be put down to her acting out against her father who she complains hasn’t been home for six months and makes a really weird comment about wanting to literally punch him when he returns home. Sherry isn’t that kind to Pegreo either; during one particular backhanded compliment she calls him “just a wimp” even though he definitely saved our arses a few times with his backpack attack moves. That, coupled with the limited expressions Sherry has (she’s either moody, sad or happy) it just feels a little off and makes it hard to sympathise with her.(All right sherry calm down!)
The RPG elements like talking to people around town to warn them of the impending machine invasion are part and parcel of the genre but not every NPC can be interacted with and the ones you do speak to feel a little inconsequential to the story, you just have to do it.(“that’s all well and good but back to this machine invasion..”)
There are hints to an overarching theme about technology taking over our lives and there’s a nice line from Grandma early on about how “It’s karma if you don’t treat your belongings with care” and perhaps explains why her broken television is actually one of the good machines. But overall, Destiny Connect: Tick Tock Travellers is a much more simple and personal story about a young girl discovering more about her family as she travels back and forth through time. I thought the time travelling concept was a really interesting way to tell the story but I was hoping there would be more scope for players to use time as a device to explore the town for themselves and gather clues in a less linear way.
The game isn’t too long but did take a couple of chapters to kick in, while the story itself is engaging yet simple. The art style is cartoon sweet, particularly notable in the bigger machines which are all given exaggerated personalities and fun names. At times, however, on the Switch at least, the game did feel a little low res and the jarring camera didn’t always help. Where dialogue is lacking, the soundtrack sets the tone well and in the more open elements I enjoyed just wandering around town and soaking up the environment.For cuteness and adventure, Destiny Connect: Tick Tock Travellers hits the right notes but, like a lot of time travel adventures, doesn’t do anything particularly new.