The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines
The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines offers an intriguing concept. Based around the singular gameplay quirk of the ability to freeze time, the potential is raised for an interesting puzzle-action game with various solutions and creativity on the behalf of the player. It’s a shame then, that The Ambassador squanders the potential afforded to it and becomes a run-of-the-mill, flash game-esque game, one that may have been seen as good ten years ago but simply doesn’t hold up currently.
The game starts out quite well, tutorialising the concept of time-stopping and the combat system it implements. However, almost immediately post-tutorial it devolves into something that leaves the memory the second it is closed. There’s nothing special or unique here, nothing worth the asking price for entry and nothing worth the time of somebody searching for a time-sink.
Visually, there’s sadly not much here. Environments and enemy archetypes that blend into one unholy amalgamation of the memory, nothing stands out. The combat system revolves around flipping between a base weapon that your character throws at enemies in order to defeat them (enemies that vary from standard soldiers to mages that teleport around the place and require rapid thought to defeat) and a staff that allows the player to cast long-range spells at enemies. You’ll find yourself using the staff very infrequently however, as almost all enemies can be defeated simply by being quick enough with your sword, and there’s little to no reason to vary your strategy. As for the main conceit of the game, freezing time is needed in very little scenarios. Occasionally you’ll need to freeze time in order to cross an exploding bridge, but outside of this you really don’t need to use it. Perhaps if the game was concentrated more around using the time freeze system to dodge projectiles and solve puzzles, it’d be an all-around more joyful time.
The biggest flaw with The Ambassador is that the game is insanely repetitive. Every level consists of the same goal, defeating every enemy in the level, and while the game wants to be a twin-stick shooter with puzzle elements using the time stop tool, it does nothing new with the mechanic beyond its introduction. The game quickly becomes boring, and the worst sin a video game can make is to simply be boring. In spite of this, however, in short bursts The Ambassador can be a fun time, players should just avoid playing it for anything longer than half an hour chunks else face intermediate boredom and the want to tear your own eyes out.
In a post-limbo indie marketplace, where independently produced video games have proven that they can be more than mere experiences and that they can offer diverse, interesting, and consistently fun experiences, The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines offers little in the way of meaningful contribution to the marketplace. It’s fun for the first couple of hours, but anything post that meanders into the dull and drab, the boring and the ugly. By no means a bad game, but by no means a good, I cannot recommend The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines as a pick-up for any gamers craving a new experience.
Mediocre with little merit, The Ambassador: Fractured Timelines is not a game for those looking for a long-form good time.