It’s not hard to imagine why storytellers throughout the ages have been obsessed with time travel. It’s human nature to wish that you could go back to undo past mistakes or relive treasured memories time and time again.
But as these games demonstrate, messing around with time can get complicated… really complicated. These time-travelling adventures explore several different takes on the concept and all of them will turn your brain to scrambled egg.
When Remedy – the creators of Max Payne and Alan Wake – announced they were making a time travel game, we should have known that some shenanigans were afoot. Quantum Break’s plot centres around the creation of a time machine and the nefarious forces seeking to take advantage of its power. Presented as a video game/TV show hybrid, Quantum Break had twists and turns to rival the serials that inspired it.
Life is Strange
Part teen-drama, part time-travelling supernatural saga, Life is Strange perfectly captures what it would be like to be an everyday teen with extraordinary powers. The game’s mechanics use time travel to unique effect, allowing you to reverse time and change the outcomes of pivotal decisions throughout the story. One such moment of reality retconning is arguably one of gaming’s greatest plot twists.
If you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy series, you’ll want to check out Chrono Trigger. This retro game first broke our brains when it was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, with a story that was far ahead of its time. In the game, your heroes will travel to vastly different time periods varying from 65,000,000 BC to a post-apocalyptic 2300 AD! Now that’s range.
Final Fantasy VIII
Speaking of Final Fantasy, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the many time travel stories that have appeared throughout this beloved series. Chief among them is Final Fantasy VIII which featured a story in which protagonist Squall sends his consciousness through time to experience events from his father’s life. If this isn’t already sounding too weird for you, you can relive this iconic tale in the recently released Final Fantasy VIII Remastered.
It might be a stretch to call Assassin’s Creed time-travelling, as we are technically only inhabiting the memories of the game’s protagonists, but the series’ twisting plot certainly broke our brains (more than once).
Sonic The Hedgehog (2006)
At the beginning of the previous generation of consoles, everyone’s favourite blue hedgehog got a reboot with a plot that contained, you guessed it, time travel. We’ll never forget exploring a post-apocalyptic city ravaged by an ancient evil and having to remind ourselves that we were playing a Sonic game.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
And while we’re on the topic of ancient evils, no list of time-travelling games would be complete without Majora’s Mask. This dark chapter in the Zelda saga saw Link attempting to save a doomed world on a time limit of three days. When you reach the third day, you can play the Song of Time to return to the first day and attempt to save Termina all over again. The plot isn’t particularly complicated, but what really broke our brains was how terrified we were of the moon’s horrifying face. We just hope he doesn’t return for the sequel to Breath of the Wild.
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