Time Flies Summer Games Fest Hands-On Preview
Time Flies does double duty as the title at play here. As the adage goes, time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana. In this simple black and white indie title, you play as a fly whose only wish in life is to see everything on their bucket list before its ultimate expiration. While it may not be the most graphically impressive title showcased at Summer Game Fest, it’s one that stuck with me well after putting my controller down.
To determine your companion’s life expectancy, Time Flies first asks you to choose your country of origin. The seconds of life that your fly is given directly correlate to that country’s average annual life expectancy. I don’t suspect the developers necessarily making a political statement in Time Flies, but I found Taiwan to be conspicuously absent from the roster of countries, while Russia was simply listed as the Russian Federation.
Once you designate your country of origin, your short-lived adventure begins in Time Flies. With no time to waste on a tutorial, your life begins to end the moment you move your arrow keys around and achieve liftoff from the hardwood floors of the living room you call home and head out for the adventure of a lifetime.
The only words you’ll often see in Time Flies are on the bucket list of life goals, from getting rich to learning to play an instrument or going on a world tour. Achieving these goals in a seventy-second lifespan will take some tricky getting used to prioritizing and even discovering what those bucket list items would mean for a fly. Much like Untitled Goose Game had a growing list of goals with no clear direction, the way to achieve these goals is the ultimate puzzle to Time Flies. Flying upwards into a paper lantern partway across the living room gives our fly companion the chance to explore within, with a small handful of floating coins within. Picking these up rewards the player with that ultimate goal of becoming rich. Meanwhile, turning on a record player and going for a ride as it spins around in song ticks another item off the bucket list.
I could tell that not all of these tasks and goals would be so straightforward. When I found a strand of sticky fly paper hanging from the ceiling, I thought I could fly up and make a new friend of those trapped for their life on the fly paper. Instead, I got stuck to it all the same and cut my life short by a good sixty seconds. Likewise, getting drunk on a glass of wine might seem the obvious solution, but your character certainly can’t fly properly once its wings get wet. Instead, dying and retrying again might lead the player to notice a drop on the stand of that wine glass that holds more than enough alcohol for the player to achieve the perfect buzz.
Time Flies might not be the longest title you’ll experience, but it’s still a unique little puzzle title that players can look forward to. Fans of Untitled Goose Game and bucket lists of life goals to achieve are all welcome to check out Time Flies across Nintendo Switch, PlayStation platforms, and PC coming in 2023.
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