Once Upon A Timeline is a free game about time travel

Once Upon A Timeline

Why yes, I have spent much of today going through Gamejolt's Adventure Jam collection. Unlike Grimstorm, Once Upon A Timeline is a more traditional point 'n click adventure. Well, traditional except for the fact that it's not about what you click, but when.

It takes place inside a single room. There's a time machine, and a dead body—specifically, the body of the main character's aunt. Upon discovering her, you jump into the time machine and attempt to save her life.

You can go anywhen from the late 1800s to early 2000s. The house changes over time, gaining new items and residents as you pass through the generations. Beyond that, it's pretty traditional. Most puzzles require finding the point in time that contains a specific item you need, and then working out how to get that item from the person who owns it. Of course, as a time travel adventure, your actions in the past can affect the events of the future.

If one thing disappoints me, it's the natural constraints of the gamejam format. Once Upon A Timeline is a great proof-of-concept, but a more detailed and in-depth version of the house would be all the more compelling. Here, there are only a small number of items to interact with or conversations to be had. It feels like an idea that has so much more room for experimentation.

Given that my only complain is that the central idea is so good I want more of it, it's probably worth a look. You can play Once Upon A Timeline, for free, at Gamejolt.


Phil has been PC gaming since the '90s, when RPGs had dice rolls and open world adventures were weird and French. Now he's the deputy editor of PC Gamer; commissioning features, filling magazine pages, and knowing where the apostrophe goes in '90s. He plays Scout in TF2, and isn't even ashamed.
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