Time Hollow tells the story of Ethan Kairos, and some quite exciting events that occur in his life. The tale begins on the eve of Ethan's birthday, in his humble home. Ethan lives with his stubborn cat Sox, and his two wonderful parents. It seems they live a near ideal life. On this particular night, Ethan's uncle shows up, and causes some unrest in the Kairos home, and leaves declaring that his brother (Ethan's father) "Will be sorry." The day comes to a close with his parents mysteriously discussing his birthday, then abruptly ending the conversation with a "We'll talk about it tomorrow." Ethan can hardly sleep, wondering what it is his parents wish to discuss. That night, Ethan has a nightmare, in which his parents are in a burning building. Suddenly, a large hole appears, and they are taken in. When Ethan awakes, he sees that very same hole in his room! He steps inside... and his life is changed forever. Upon exiting, he finds the hollow pen, a device which allows one to reach backwards in time. Ethan will need this to fix all that has gone awry.
As my title reveals, this game made me say "Whoa!" However, it wasn't necessarily a good "Whoa!" Whoa! What a plot twist! Whoa!I can change time! Whoa! Every character overreacts to everything in this game! Whoa! That was a TERRIBLE line of dialogue! Whoa! They just killed off some character I've never heard of! Whoa! everything anyone does in this game makes no sense!
Time Hollow has very simple, straightforward adventure gameplay that requires very little from the player. To the game's credit, the minimal amounts of gameplay are in no way broken. You really don't have to think so often, simply progress through the story. Unfortunately, elements of the story were what ultimately killed the game for me. Just about every conversation had a stupid line of dialogue, be it awkward, forced, or otherwise. It seemed to me that certain events were very forced and the result of huge overreactions. One example comes in the first chapter of the game, when Ethan's friend's sister vanishes as the result of an argument. Throughout the story, everyone overreacts to everything, no matter how simple it is.
Another problem with the story is the poor charcter development, and it's overly fast pace. Not once did I ever feel connected to the characters, because your interaction with them tends to be brief. Not to mention, many of the characters don't have a great amount of personality, either. The game doesn't notice this, however, and will have no problem introducing a character, then killing them of and making a huge deal of it moments later. I didn't have a chance to ever take it all in, it happens so fast.
At the end of the day, however, the game is just poorly written, and uses SHOCKING! moments to provide entertainment. In the past, I have never enjoyed stories which thrive on these sudden, extreme twists, but lack sufficient story outside of them. Sure, people die, people are sad, but it all feels forced into my face.
Honestly, Time Hollow lacks a lot of gameplay even among adventure games. Snatcher has shooting sequences, requires much investigation, and has some tough puzzles. Phoenix Wright racks your brain in investigations and trials, and makes you analyze all of your evidence. These, and other games, require a good amount of thought. The most you ever do in Time Hollow is draw a circle where the game tells you to. Frankly, I'm not impressed, and in fact, I was quite bored with the game.