The Temporal Invasion

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The Temporal Invasion on Steam (demo available here)

MSRP: $3.99

Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux

Release: 7/4/16


I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile. The Temporal Invasion is almost an alternate reality game; full of conspiracy theories and encouraging you to do a lot of research outside the game.  I’m a little boggled that the game gives you so much content for so little money – there are 10 chapters and (I believe) 10 mysteries per chapter.

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The first few items are simple riddles or puzzles in which you only need to manipulate the items that you are given.  But soon, you’re going to have to head to Google to have a chance at figuring out the answers.  This game will linger in the back of your mind when you’re not playing it – at any time, you could have an “Aha!” moment that will have you scrambling for a scrap of paper to make a note so you don’t forget to look up something later.

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That’s the good.  There is bad, however, and the bad might be enough to turn some folks off the whole endeavor. It’s clear from the awkward translations that English is not a first language for the creator of this game.  This would be less of a big deal if it wasn’t stressed repeatedly that every word is important.

There’s also some mechanical idiosyncrasies.  The whole game takes place through letters. Now either you have them all at once, and if that’s true, what’s to stop you from jumping around willy nilly and reading them in whatever order you please?  Otherwise, you receive a new packet only after completing one, but for game play reasons, you receive it immediately.  It didn’t bother me at all, but for folks who want all the elements to make sense, this one just doesn’t.

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The answers to puzzles are sent to the mysterious Dr. Quantum via email, and very early on, I ran into the issue of having the right answer, but not typing it exactly the way the game’s algorithm was programmed to detect it. The other thing that will irritate fans of ARGs is that the email address in game goes absolutely nowhere – the alternate reality in this game stays firmly inside its borders.

In order to play The Temporal Invasion, you have to at least have a tolerance for conspiracy theories, and a lot of patience with imperfect game systems and less-than-stellar writing.  However, there aren’t a lot of games of this type available – most ARGs get outdated or spoiled rather quickly, and there’s a lot of puzzling to be done here for $4.  I know I’ll be firing it up again as soon as I figure out what the next answer is.

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