*could have minor spoilers, use some caution when reading*
I know what you're thinking. Another platformer, another day, right? Same old, same old? With the copious amounts of platforming games available on Steam, what makes Chronology worth a purchase?
Chronology, thankfully, gives you a lot of reasons.
As described in the trailer, you play as an older gentleman and his friend, a snail. The present time in the game is set after an apocalyptic event, and using a special device he invented, the old man can travel back and forth through time at will. The snail (who has some sort of robotic shell) can stop time. Together they use these abilities to progress further, to tackle challenges, and to save the world from destruction.
The very first thing you see here is the art of the game; no lame, overused, big pixel graphics here. The world is beautifully exhibited in the past time and hauntingly dark in the present time. The overall look can be described as having been painted on a canvas; Osao Games, developer of Chronology, seems to be inspired by Studio Ghibli in terms of artistry here, and it shows: attention to detail, such as curtains blowing in the wind as you pass them add a definite touch. The transitions going from past to present give a stark contrast: former architecture in the past has broken down in the future, vegetation takes over parts of a city; it's little things like these that add so much to the visuals.
The music here fits in well and is very, very awesome, ranging from happy, to urgent, to bleak, to pensive, and it seems that every scene you are in is complemented perfectly by a fitting musical score; whoever made the music to this, you get my props for that one, man. The audio for the rest of the world is vibrant and gets the job done. Voice acting in this is great, which surprised me. I didn't expect this level of quality in the audio!
The gameplay here is simple. You can utilize a gamepad or the computer keyboard's arrow keys + spacebar. Controls here are tight, and work really well and are very simple. The platforming aspect of the game is transformed through the use of the time machine in your possession; landscapes change from the past to the present. This leads to very cool and unique platforming (for example, jumping whilst in the present, using the time machine, then landing on a ledge in the past). Other puzzles include planting a tree in the past in order to climb up it in the present. The potential uses of time here are great, and it adds much needed fun to the dry platformer genre.
The developers made an excellent choice by telling you the controls, and then they let you play. That's it. You are in control, and you learn how to tackle the game's puzzles on your own. Once you meet your snail friend, they'll give you a small clue on where to use her time-stopping powers, but other than that, it's all on you, and I love it for that. It's rewarding when you figure out a puzzle through your own assumption; that being said, more experienced people will sort of breeze through some puzzles, but even I got stuck at a cleverly designed puzzle at times.
The only negatives I could see to this game include minor audio bugs, which most likely will be sorted out, and some players may find it a bit easy to get through as it is relatively short, and the final climax at the end is slightly underwhelming. However, this game is solid at almost every level.
Overall, I'd recommend Chronology for anyone, at any age. It's an awesome game that rekindled my love of platforming games in a time where I didn't seem to like them anymore. It's unique, fun, simple, and just generally great. It's worth $9.99, definitely, if this kind of game interests you, although I wouldn't shy away from a discounted price.
If I had to give this game a numeric rating, it'd be a 9/10.