Review: ChronoClock

by

Developer: Purple Software
Publisher: Sekai Project
Platform: PC(Steam)
Price: $29.99 USD
Release Date: English: February 28th, 2017. Japanese: April 24rd, 2015.

The story of a teenage boy that obtains the power to rewind back time. The heir to a wealthy and influential family, Sawatari Rei finds an antique pocket watch in his house. Shortly after, he dies. Or at least he would have died, weren’t for the fact that this watch has the power to rewind back time. That day, he decides to use the pocket watch for two purposes: to make life interesting, and to lose his virginity.

ChronoClock is a story about time. The protagonist has the limited ability of turning back time 5 minutes once every 1 hour. Despite this immense power, he uses the magical powers of his watch mostly for unimportant things.

The game is structured as a regular visual novel, with straight forward choices, one route for each heroine, and a final canonical route for the main girl. The game features heavy philosophical tones, specially regarding the passing of time. Although the writing wasn’t exactly stellar, ChonoClock is certainly more thought-provoking than most Visual Novels out there.

Story

Rei is a rich teenage boy with a magical pocket watch that turns back time. His life after graduation is already set in stone by his family, and the only time he has to enjoy himself is now. Using the power of the watch, his goals are to make life interesting, and to find a girlfriend. One day at school, a girl falls from the rooftop and dies. Rei uses the power of the watch to turn back time and save her. Doing so sets off a series of events, enabling him to get close to the heroines.

Anime and games often depict highschoolers as characters. There are several reasons to this obsession with youth and the high-school period of one’s life, but one stands out: It is the period of a person’s life when he/she has the most personal freedom. ChronoClock’s protagonist is the embodiment of this concept, having his entire life laid out for him in anticipation.

In a similar fashion, the heroines in the game are also struggling with time. During each of their routes, as you learn more about their lives and circumstances, difference facets of time’s passing are introduced, along with their individual struggles.

ChronoClock features a strong cast of characters, including the protagonist. Rei has opinions, goals, and convictions, which is more than can be said about many other visual novel protagonists. The other characters in the story as well, all of them have multi-dimensional personalities, which is always nice. The story and character interactions really stand out, becoming the main attraction of the game.

Gameplay

ChronoClock has but two story branches. The first one narrows your options to two girls, and the second one puts you on a given girl’s route. After playing the four girl’s routes, a new game option opens in the main menu, enabling the player to go through a fifth route. At the end of this story, a new option unlocks in the regular game, leading to the canonical prologue with the main heroine. Progression is as straight forward as it can be.

The game’s setup features plenty of options and customization. Such a rich diversity of options is quite unusual for older games, but thankfully it’s becoming more common among newer releases.

The usual voice options are there, along with the option to change individual character’s voices and text-color. Aspect Ratio configurations are present as well.

Sound

A total of 31 sound tracks were used in the entire game, which is a lot considering the medium-short length of the story. Whenever the music transitions, it shows a notification on the corner with the name of the song, which was a nice touch. As it for most visual novels, the soundtrack’s purpose is to set the mood of the current scene. While the tracks weren’t particularly memorable on their own, the music really helped set the pace for the game. The game’s overall plot isn’t very tragic or depressing, which reflects on the musical score.

Graphics

ChronoClock looks beautiful. There are no fancy 3D effects or backgrounds, everything is done in plain 2D portrait-against-background traditional VN style. The art of the game is professional looking and polished, and each character had quite plenty of poses and facial expressions.

During certain parts of the game, a super-deformed style was adopted.

As a note, please beware that ChronoClock has frontal nudity at some parts.

The original game is 18+ with adult scenes. Steam version is all ages, while Nutaku has the 18+ version of the game.

Downside

The game’s translation and localization left MUCH to be desired. While my knowledge of the Japanese language is very shallow, it was clear even to me that the text on screen mismatched what was being said quite often. Quite often, unnecessary things were added to the translated text. English translations of Visual Novels are known for having excessive localization of dialogue, but ChronoClock left quite a bad taste in this particular regard.

One heroine in particular is a foreign girl from the UK. She speaks Japanese with a very strong foreign accent, and often fits English words in the middle of sentences. They localized this by having her text in English with the swapped words in Japanese. This choice of translation was quite interesting to the story, but the unneeded addition of things just to make her seem more British was distasteful.

Overall

Solid story and music, great art and graphics, and a shallow attempt at localization. ChronoClock was a very enjoyable story, keeping me busy for extended game-play sessions. While all the shoehorned things might upset people, it wasn’t enough to detract much from the overall experience. There is certainly closure at the end of the story, despite a few things being left unexplained. This might be one of the finer VNs available on Steam, it’s certainly one I’d recommend.

ChronoClock

ChronoClock

7.5

Final Grade

8/10

    Pros

    • Beautiful art and designs
    • Good music
    • Interesting themes
    • Strong cast of characters
    • Interesting protagonist

    Cons

    • Unnecessary things added to the localization