Tyd wag vir Niemand (Time Waits for Nobody) Review
Tyd wag vir Niemand (Time Waits for Nobody) Review
Given my experience with the first six scenarios, I am not convinced that there are enough hours left in my lifetime to play this game to completion
Posted: 08/05/17 | Category: Review | Developer: Skobbejak Games | Publisher: Skobbejak Games | Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux

Genre: 3D Exploration
Release date: July 7, 2017

It’s All About the Journey  
 

Skobbejak Games is a two-man indie game development team based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Their first game, Vapour Part 1, was released in 2015 as an “experimental horror” title that focused on action and survival. In 2016, they changed course and released ‘n Verlore Verstand as an “abstract adventure” that included platforming and puzzles. Their current release, Tyd wag vir Niemand, is described as a “first-person atmospheric adventure” that features platforming, traps, and “fun tricky obstacles.” Tricky?  Yes.  Fun? Not so sure… This last game has been more positively received by the gaming community (as evidenced by Steam feedback), so Skobbejak should be feeling good about the progress they are making in the market.

Don’t let the Afrikaans title confuse you. When I saw Tyd wag vir Niemand listed on Steam, my first thought was that it was a foreign language game. But, as I perused player comments, it became clear that the game was being played by an English-speaking audience. At some point, the Steam listing added the title’s translation – Time Waits for Nobody.  As it turns out, language is not much of an issue, as the game has no dialog and only uses minimal text in the beginning and in between levels.

Off to an Inauspicious Start  
 

I load the game and discover that the menu is non-functional on my PC. I read the Steam discussions and learn that a few others are having similar issues. I post an inquiry and the developers at Skobbejak are “looking into it.” Meanwhile, a functioning menu is not mission-critical and I can always exit back to my desktop using “Alt-Tab.” Not an elegant approach, but it works.

I hit the “Play” button and find myself in an icy region with a monolithic structure in the distance. I run towards it and giant stone pillars float upwards, into the sky, to get out of my way. The wind whistles and my boots crunch in the snow. I discover that I am at a research station and in communication with Headquarters via a radio. My connection to the outside world is short-lived, as I enter the building and lose all signal. The massive door shuts behind me (CLUNK!) and I am stuck. I spend a long time looking for a click-point to effect a change in the room. Surprise!  There are no click-points in this game. Evidently, I’m supposed to intuitively recognize that peering down at a specific object is my ticket out.

Suddenly, I’m looking at stacked frames that I can make spin or pause. I’m getting dizzy, as I clumsily attempt to align that which cannot be aligned. Nothing is happening. Finally, I “move towards the light” and after a bit, I’m on a floating platform with cars moving up and down in the sky. It’s beautifully done and I begin reviewing my food intake for the day trying to figure out if someone has slipped me an illegal substance. I’m on an interesting ride that only makes sense in the context of mind-altering chemicals.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road  
 

Evidently, I am supposed to walk a crooked tightrope, platform-jump from car-to-car, and then teeter across a second moving tightrope without falling out of the sky. I make it to the end of the line, stumble, and get to start all over. This elicits an ugly thought about software developers who refuse to implement a basic save system. I finally make it across the Bridge of Cars and hit a timed segment that requires me to run. I don’t figure this out until it is too late and I am back at the start. Next time, through, I run and make it. Now I must speed down another rotating tightrope. I fall off and I am back to the start. I decide that these developers must have a deeply sadistic streak. Otherwise, they would not have created an obstacle course that requires starting over, from the beginning, each time I misstep. I look at the clock. I have been playing for 51 minutes and am back at square one.

Sigh… Back to the Bridge of Cars…  45 minutes later, I’ve made it through the first bridge and I fall to my death. GOOD NEWS! In an unexpected act of kindness, someone created a save point so I do not have to go back to the first bridge for the 93rd time. Feeling cheered by my progress, I exit the game and go make a pot of coffee. When I reload, I am back at the start of the level. WHAT??? Okay… now my hunch is confirmed.  Developers of games like this do not consider players like me (i.e., those with less than perfect skills) to be a viable demographic. So, they code for the highest skill level and leave people like me to wonder why they attempted such folly in the first place.

AT LAST, I make it across the Bridge of Cars and all tightropes and I land in The Cave which is a seemingly endless sequence of floating platforms with a hundred ways to die. I must make perfectly timed leaps, dodge pillars that whiz across my path, and confront a series of fire rings. I will not tell you how many hours it took me to finish this level, or that I had to start all over three times, or that I spent an hour on the 5 jumps required to cross the last series of moving platforms at the end. I will also not describe my countless, vain attempts to trace the path of each fireball without losing focus.

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My celebration for crossing a finish line is short-lived, as I land in a Field of Flowers with MORE fire rings and a new threat - giant pinballs coming at me from all sides. I finish this level and find myself in a dinghy, looking up at The Ship which floats in the air and explodes each time it hits an obstacle. My job is to clear a path through the chaos above. Says Easy…Does Hard. But, I persevere and the ship survives. Now, I am in a long hall with swinging and sliding furniture. With time on my side, I move down the hall and am killed. HUH??? I lose count of my deaths and I am still clueless as to what is happening since I am successfully dodging all obstacles in my path. Then I look behind me and see a giant pinball coming down the hall. Evidently, I am not allowed to slow down or stop while running this gauntlet. Armed with this wisdom, I almost make it out of the hall over and over and over…

Suddenly, I can see the future and it is bleak. I ask myself if I have the motivation or stamina to invest several more days, starting over hundreds of times, just to reach a new level and experience more of the same with a different (albeit stunning) landscape? My answer, with 18+ hours invested in Tyd wag vir Niemand, is a resounding “NO!”

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The Beauty of the Beast  
 

At its heart, Tyd wag vir Niemand is a beautifully choreographed 3D obstacle course played from a first-person perspective. It is crafted from surreal landscapes that defy the rules of gravity. Powerful music and sound effects combine to create an intense environment that often had my pulse racing. Your goal is to wind your way through obstacles and avoid traps to reach the end of the path for each level. There are multiple levels…each with a unique atmosphere but similar puzzle structures. Some levels are more lengthy and complicated than others.

There are occasional screens of text that reflect the inner musings of the main character (you). Typical comments are “Where am I?” and “I need to get out of here!” There are also vague references to past experiences that form a disjointed thread of a story.

Actual gameplay includes (but is not limited to) crossing cables and plank bridges, precision jumping between moving platforms, tracing fire circles, and avoiding or outrunning objects designed to crush you. Navigation is done with the WASD keys, plus keys to run and jump. The mouse is used to start and stop time. When confronted with stone pillars whizzing across your path, you can slow them down and wind your way around them. However, it is not always enough to just slow time. Your survival may require you to manage time by clicking to slow and speed time as you travel. This is learned by trial-and-error which means you may be falling into the black abyss on a regular basis.

One thing I really liked about the puzzles is that they are not random. There are no monsters jumping out to kill you and no unexpected platform collapses. Instead, I could see the physics and mathematics of each solution. It’s all about speed, trajectories, angles and timing. Like planning a tricky shot in a game of pool, I could visualize each action required but struggled with executing it correctly. As an intelligent gamer, my brain kept telling me “you can do this” while my performance (or lack thereof) told me otherwise.

Skobbejak partially planned for you not surviving every scenario on your first attempt. If you die in the middle of a level, you are restored somewhere close to your point of failure. BUT, if you exit the game in the middle of a level, you will find yourself starting that level over at the very beginning. In my opinion, this is nothing more than unfinished business on the part of the development team.  Not having save points within a difficult and complex level is like releasing a car but planning to add brakes “in a future version.”

The Bottom Line  
 

My problem with Tyd wag vir Niemand is not that it is a “bad” game. It is actually a beautiful game with compelling graphics and music that come together in a wonderful way. However, it is an extended exercise in slogging your way through sequential levels with no real story and no save option. If you are a skilled platform gamer, then perhaps this is not an issue. For me, it all but ruined the experience.

In a story-based adventure, I have an incentive to keep going…perhaps I want to see how the story turns out or perhaps I care about the characters. With this game, continuing only meant more of the same frustration, ad infinitum. When I finally mastered a tricky scenario, my only reward was moving on to the next equally difficult (or harder) task. Given my experience with the first six scenarios, I am not convinced that there are enough hours left in my lifetime to play this game to completion. For me, not finishing a game I am reviewing has never been an option. With Tyd wag vir Niemand, it is my only reasonable choice. Word on the street is that the game has a secret level and alternate endings. Perhaps, in my next incarnation, I will be blessed with the gaming skills necessary to finish this quest.

 
Surreal landscapes with music to match
Elaborate and highly creative artwork will delight and surprise you
For the truly skilled platform/survival gamer, provides a great opportunity to test your talents
 
At its core, this game is an elaborate obstacle course.  Those looking for an adventure with a story might want to skip this one.
Lack of save within levels is incredibly frustrating for the player not well versed in how to run, jump, dodge, and chew gum at the same time. 
 Logo
 
 
Trailer:
 

System Requirements

MINIMUM PC:
OS: Windows 7 32-bit
Processor: Dual Core
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: GTX Nvidia Geforce 8800 OR ATI Radeon HD 3870 OR equivalent/higher
Sound Card: DirectX-compatible
Storage: 5 GB available space
 
 
MINIMUM Mac:
OS: OSX El Capitan
Processor: Dual Core
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia Geforce 8800 OR ATI Radeon HD 3870 OR equivalent/higher
Storage: 5 GB available space
Sound card: Mac OSX-compatible
 
MINIMUM SteamOS + Linux:
OS: Trusty Tahr (Steam OS not yet tested)
Processor: Dual Core
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia Geforce 8800 OR ATI Radeon HD 3870 OR equivalent/higher
Sound Card: Linux-compatible
Storage: 5 GB available space
 
Specials from Digital Download
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