Chamber of Time is a kind of Harry Potter but then turned around, where student Akko is so inspired by a performance of a good witch in her youth that she necessarily wants to go to the Luna Nova Academy to become that. However, she has the talent of a brick but purely on character and with the help of her two friends Sucy and Lotte she experiences adventures and there appears to be more in her than you think at first. It is all very charming, but you have to be able to withstand the structural shouting of the characters, because it is going very loudly. It is, in short, a typical anime series.
At first you are as a fan completely happy with the game: 95 percent of all original voice actors are there and that is immediately very important. Why? There is a lot of chatting, a lot of rumors, and as that goes with this series completely in Japanese with English subtitles. The in-game graphics that are shown here are also very well done, with the character of the characters coming out well. To top it all off there are also special new anime scenes that tell you parts of the story.
That story revolves around the Chamber of Time, which accidentally triggers Akko (as she does almost everything) while on the first day of the summer holiday she has to clean up the library (not surprisingly). This ensures that a kind of Groundhog Day scenario starts where the day turns back exactly at 12 o’clock in the morning to eight o’clock in the morning. Akko brings in her friends and acquaintances of Luna Nova and before you know it you’re sitting with Amanda, Constanze, Jasminka and of course Diana in the Horologium Chamber to see how this strange situation can be solved.
Effectively you do two very different things in this game. On the one hand it is a game in which time logically matters and the people in Luna Nova follow their pattern of that one day that is repeated. To get information, collect items and do other necessary things that help the story, it is important to talk to everyone, but at the right time. Think of Majora’s Mask, then you have the right idea. Approximately every two hours people change position and then they can give you a punch or item that can help you to find or do something in the next version of the day. Fortunately, it is indicated where to start a sidequest, but navigating through Luna Nova is hellishly slow and irritating.
You can quickly travel to and from certain points later in the game (if you at least find the random sidequest that makes it possible), but before you have reached that point you’ve walked back and forth for hours through the endlessly confusing corridors of the school. The minimap never helps, the normal folder does not show you where you are in a corridor, only that you are in the hallway, and because it is 2D but the environments 3D with moving camera you have to think hard to see where you are is sitting. Most of the assignments that are thrown into your lap are of the type ‘go get it for me, oh, it is on the other side of the school’ and that means running, walking, and walking again. The worst thing is that it is not made clear with which things you really get further and which are fun for there, so you end up in a very annoying course where you do not know what to do and try to do a certain quest which yields nothing the entire time unnoticed misses the moment when you could make relevant progression at another time. Grr.
Beat me up
If you do not like it anymore you can find distraction in the other part of the game: the dungeons. From the Horologium Chamber you can also use special keys to enter the dungeons to fight monsters with three of the ladies from your group. It does not really matter who you pick, because apart from Akko itself and Constanze it is reasonable lead to old iron who takes you, for what it makes in the fights. The dungeons play like an old-fashioned beat ’em up like Final Fight, Streets of Rage or Double Dragon. So you can move back and forth and up and down in the field to hit or hit the enemies with your spells. You always control one character and the other two must have really not too good AI, so you more often than not only end up with the final boss of the very short pieces, because the rest did not notice that healing handy if you have almost no life points left, or if you keep that right in front of enemies that keep repeating simple attacks is not smart.
And that is bales, because it is often quite difficult to hit something. You have to be close to the pixel well in the ‘depth’ to hit enemies with normal attacks and often you stand in the nothing stallion. The only thing that always works are the heavy spells that fill the half screen with fire and lightning, but then you are halfway without magic again. Fortunately, most dungeons are only a few screens long, so it is in any case quickly ended. Several keys that you get and find allow you to enter new areas, but the difference is often no more than cosmetic and even though it all looks pretty nice the enemies you encounter are the same everywhere. It seems like this part of the game was made by another team, because here everything goes wrong too: the sound goes in all directions in terms of volume, with some voices hardly audible and some seem to be very loud, it slows down there is too much happening on the screen at the same time and sometimes you are waiting for no reason until you can continue.
Time to go
This is too bad, because you can see that the developers have tried to go into the depth. The magic upgrade system is fun based on constellations, there is plenty to find for your witches, from magic wand to bracelet and the large choice of keys for the dungeons should provide a lot of variety. The problem, however, is just as with walking around the quests that playing in itself is simply not fun. The characters are charming, the game looks (animations aside) fine, but the story would have come out much better if the basic things you do in the game were fun to do, or at least not their best to get in the way.
There is somewhere a very nice episode of Little Witch Academy hidden in Chamber of Time, but it’s the time you have to put into the game as far as I’m concerned and that is damn pity. It is not often that I already start a game with a +2 lead, but if it does not come out enough then it just stops. And nobody cares more than I do.