App Army Assemble: The Chronos Principle – Should you find the time to play this minimalist puzzler? | Articles

The Chronos Principle is a minimalist puzzler that looks to weave elements of time manipulation into its levels. The idea is that you will need to cooperate with a past iteration of yourself to tackle the current conundrum you’re facing. It promises plenty of mind-boggling brainteasers then so we decided to send in our resident puzzle experts, the App Army.

Here’s what they said:


The Chronos Principle is a minimalist puzzler. It’s of the type where you have to move an object from one part of a maze to another. As with all these types of games, the levels start easy enough, generally to get you used to the concept and controls, then after a few levels it adds mechanics to the gameplay, usually, things to avoid or things you as a player can use or do to help you get to the endpoint in the maze. This games special mechanic is being able to move through a level to a point where you can leave copies of yourself, in this case, you are a controllable square (see, minimalist) at a position that would have aided you if It had been part of the maze already, or triggering a mechanic, like a switch, or even trip a danger.

At this point, the maze can be reset and a ghost or ghosts, of yourself, moves through the level to where you ended your move before you reset the maze. When each ghost block arrives at the point you had left it, it then becomes like part of the maze or triggers a game mechanic for you or trips the hazard that would have killed you, and your actual character can now move through the maze and complete it. It’s really easier in practice than it sounds. Sometimes you can look at the maze and see right away where it would be useful for you to use this mechanic, sometimes it takes a while and trial and error to see where it would be best used.

I have seen games like this a lot, and a tactic I always use to solve them is to mentally follow the path from the target back to the source as that usually reveals the best place to place blocks or use mechanics rather than trying to solve them from the start to the end. This makes a lot of these levels much easier. The game’s visuals are clean, the music can be a bit annoying after a while though. As a puzzle game, it’s good and does make you think but for me, it’s only good in short blasts as it can feel repetitive if played for longer periods.

Isaiah Stuart

The Chronos Principle is quite an interesting game. Its core mechanic is simple, but the many ways it can be applied are complex. It really forces you to think in a way you probably aren’t used to thinking. This isn’t a trial and error game by any means; if you don’t go into each level with a plan, you almost certainly won’t get anywhere. The gameplay is thus quite engaging, accomplishing a level of depth and complexity that most games on the Google play store just can’t match.

I’ll be honest: When I first picked up this game, I had my doubts. The art style, while clean and not ugly, certainly did not attract me, and I assumed that the simplicity of the core mechanic would extend to the game as a whole. I was wrong. While I’m still not crazy about the art style, the game gains depth and complexity as you move forward, becoming ever more rewarding the further you go. I like this game quite a lot.
That leaves us with one question: is it worth paying for?

Like I’ve said, I like the game. Unfortunately, it is relatively short, there is no story as far as I can tell, and the audiovisual theme remains unchanged throughout the entire game. If I am going to pay for a game, it needs the extra substance that story or visual beauty provides. I don’t think that based on the game’s current content I would pay for it.

To conclude, this game has a lot going for it, and the unique gameplay carries it through despite uninteresting visual design and a lack of story. I like this game. However, it just doesn’t have enough meat on its bones to be worth the asking price.

Torbjörn Kämblad

Initially, a puzzler sliding a block from point a to point b. I have seen it a gazillion times before on the App Store and was just about to yawn and call it quits. Then the Chronos, or time aspect kicked in letting me rewind to clone my block. It opened up a new way of playing this otherwise simple puzzle game.
Still, it is a quite simple clean puzzle game not offering too much news in a quite crowded market. Hard to recommend, and quite forgettable. Only recommended to those who have already finished a lot of the ordinary Sokoban or similar puzzle games.

Oksana Ryan

This was definitely my kind of game. Although there were no fancy graphics, they were more than adequate and didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the game. The simple aim is to go from point A to point B, but it’s obviously not going to be that easy. There are walls and obstacles in the way and to make it to the other side, you have to plot your path, leaving strategic blocks, so that when you make your final run, the blocks help you through. Actually, it’s simpler to play than explain. As the levels progress they inevitably get harder and the odd one has you scratching your head. This is a game that is great if you’re a puzzle fan and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Pierpaolo Morgante

As others have already reported, TCP is a minimalistic puzzle game. It reminded me of Persephone, where you could complete levels by using previous copies of yourself. In this game, you have the opportunity to generate a shadow of yourself that can help you reach the exit of each level. I found the game simple yet captivating, and I played around 25 levels in a couple of hours across the weekend.

I recommend it to all fans of puzzle games, while other players might find it too repetitive to be enjoyable. I couldn’t play it with the music, so I don’t know how that sounds like, but judging from previous comments it might be worth playing and worth listening to also. My only complaint is that it takes a while to pick up the “use your shadow” mechanics, so maybe a better tutorial would improve this. Overall, I would give the game 8/10, and I highly recommend it.

Michael Purdy

The Chronos Principle is a seemingly simple sliding block puzzle game with a unique twist. In every level, you can turn back time and use your doppelgänger to solve the puzzle. That can mean anything from using a past block to create a new path or using it to hit switches. It makes for a very clever puzzle game that I found very enjoyable.

Bruno Ramalho

What a great time travel principle we got here. At first sight, one gets reminded of a game with similar mechanics (Persephone), where you have to use “your previous deaths” to catapult you to the place where you need to be. But then you get it and see that there’s much more to it. It is a Time travelling little puzzler, and the difficulty ramps up, and we are very grateful for it. Suddenly it’s not just about piling your own corpses in the way for you to get to the right spot in the maze, no, you need to time things right, as in Back To The Future, you need to be at the right spot at the right time so that things click and you can get where you need to.

And that’s great fun, and yes, it makes you scratch your brain a little more than usual. It’s timing, it’s time travel, it’s thinking ahead a lot of moves with different pieces, it’s thinking backwards because not every puzzle is linear, and all in all, I just loved all the new mechanics that keep being introduced that forces you to think outside the box, and in a Groundhog Day kind of way. Loved the soundtrack and sound effects also, very mysterious.

Paul Manchester

A minimalist review for a minimalist puzzler. The first ten levels were easy, the next ten not too taxing, then at around level 25 it really ramps up and my brain started to hurt. But to be honest, at that point I was bored having played similar games before – but usually with more interesting gameplay twists. Maybe at level 26, a killer mechanic is introduced but I can’t see me returning to find out. Overall the game was inoffensive but sadly unmemorable.

Mark Abukoff

This is a simple in principle, (very) minimalist puzzler with a time travel twist. Each puzzle tasks you with using previous versions of yourself (by making a certain number of runs through the puzzle and marking locations) by blocking or unblocking your travel path to the exit. Just to note, I wasn’t impressed by the music so, as I usually do, I turned the sound down early on.

I made it fairly quickly through the first twenty levels, finding them interesting and thought-provoking enough to hold my interest. Then I found myself having to search for clues online. After needing to do that for two puzzles in a row I put it away. But I was impressed with the game. Granted, there isn’t a lot to it, but as I said, it’s interesting and made me think. Fans of the genre, especially if they like the minimalist aesthetics, ought to enjoy this.

Mike Lisagor

The Chronos Principle is a slick little puzzle game that appears to be the same old slide-the-block game we have seen before. However, you actually manipulate “deaths” to then play off of your previous moves. In a way, it is like Persephone where you use your previous play to your advantage. I love it. The game nudges you along with very subtle instructions but not the typical hand-holding tutorials.

Later on, you need to stay in place at certain points while you wait for the next actions to take place. The presentation is simple but effective. Any fan of puzzle games should pick this one up. I’m about halfway through the game and the puzzles are definitely getting trickier, but not to the point of wanting to give up. Highly recommended. Perfect mobile puzzler.

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