A Timely Intervention – Review
Follow Genre: Retro RPG
Developer: Aldorlea Games
Publisher: Aldorlea Games
Platform: PC
Tested on PC

A Timely Intervention – Review

Site Score
6.9
Good: Old school retro RPG vibe, monster designs, interesting story and gameplay elements
Bad: varying quality of character designs, unnecessary dialogues, flimsy story
User Score
6.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Since the existence of RPG-Maker, both fans and aspiring game developers were able to build roleplaying games in retro fashion with ease. This didn’t always guarantee for top-class quality gameplay and  deep and intriguing storylines. Most of those games ended up on mobile platforms and Steam, sometimes to be completely forgotten. But aside from the latter, there also those who manage to create a unique experience that lets us relive the good old days like we knew them with great RPG’s like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Secret of Mana. Aldorlea Games is one of those few indie developers that keeps creating roleplaying games very passionately, as their latest addition, A Timely Intervention, found its way to our office. Having spent a couple of hours grinding this adventure, we’re ready to share our verdict.

A Timely Intervention bannerStory

A Timely Intervention is a fantasy adventure that takes place in a world similar to ours, be it in the distant future. Praedus, a young and determined journalist is planning to infiltrate the top-secret government facility called Marrlon Facility. Rumor has it that top-secret experiments are being performed at the facility and Praedus assumes one of those experiments would give him his next big scoop. Disguised as a janitor and tampering with the security, he manages to get to the center of the facility where he stumbles on a strange machine, the likes of which he’s never seen before. Without being aware of the consequences, he turns it on. Alyssa, one of the scientists being present at the time, notices what happens and tries to stop Praedus. By accident, both of them get sucked into a sort of wormhole and are transported back in time. As the unforeseen allies they are, they’ll have to find a way back to their timeline. The government eventually catches wind of the break-in and the machine’s tampering. As they try to cover up the accident and their ulterior motives, they dispatch a Special Forces unit in order to capture Praedus and Alyssa.

The story of A Timely Intervention is an interesting story, especially the way it is being told. Unfortunately most of the plot elements are of a bit of an overused nature. Especially the time travelling has been found in other RPG titles, although it’s hard to tell an original story without using elements that found their origin in other stories or tales. A Timely Intervention tries to stand out by bringing the story in its own way, sometimes a bit too straightforward, and focusing on other elements such as viewing and playing the story through the perspective of the antagonists. It’s rare to see games that allow players to experience it from both the protagonist and antagonist point of view.
A timely intervention 02

A primary, yet slightly annoying element of the story is some of its dialogues. Aside from the generic and decently written story based dialogues, the game is overloaded with useless and annoying banter from the characters. For example, when entering a new area or picking up an item, it activates short interaction between characters that holds no value whatsoever, becoming quite annoying over time. In a way, these dialogues can be fun and help to flesh out the characters and their personalities, but truth be told, it’s just plain overkill.

Graphics

A timely Intervention looks and feels like an old school RPG classic as we know them from the first Final Fantasy games. The environments, the world map, caves, cities and different locations look really authentic in their 16bit like graphics. It’s beautiful in its own way but might not be for everyone. It’s a sort of personal taste and might especially appeal to fans of these old school retro roleplaying games. However, that can’t be said for the lower quality of the characters, especially their pictures. The designs look, although colorful, a tad plain and boring. The pictures show no emotions and remain quite static, which is a waste. Their 2D sprites look really good, on the other hand, as well as those of the enemies they encounter in the wild. The designs and artwork of the monsters look really topnotch and can be seen as a tribute to old RPG classics. The artwork even dares to compete with that of Yoshitake Amano, Final Fantasy’s image illustrator.
A timely intervention 06

Sound

A Timely Intervention’s soundtrack is majorly a variation on ambient music that doesn’t exactly blow you away. It’s an extensive soundtrack that offers a lot of change, especially as every location or area has its own unique music, but between the standard sound effects and the incredibly generic music, it just fails to satisfy, mainly because most of the soundtrack remains monotone and offers no real punch. For example, battles and boss fights in particular sound so tedious and plain when they could’ve benefited from some up-tempo strings or drums. The game doesn’t offer any voice acting as it wouldn’t benefit the design and the purpose of an old school retro RPG.

A timely intervention 05

Gameplay

A Timely Intervention is a 2D retro RPG and plays and feels like the old RPG classics we know very well. The gameplay can be best compared to that of the first Final Fantasy games as combat, movement and world’s lay-out are very similar. But don’t be mistaken, as this isn’t a shameless copy but a fresh and unique take on an old formula. Aldorlea Games have introduced some tweaks and changes that are definitely worth taking a look at.

Movement in the world happens in a straightforward and classic way. Moving through houses, caves, local maps and the world map goes only vertically and horizontally. Diagonal movement isn’t possible and as some might find this peculiar, we could assume it’s to keep the old school experience intact. While moving through certain maps, you can interact with persons or objects and even engage in battles which introduce one of the first interesting elements of the game. At the start of a new game, you can either choose to have visible enemy encounters (foes are walking around on the map) or have invisible enemy encounters (foes can attack anytime during exploration). Not many games offer this option and grant players customize their playing experience.
A timely intervention 04

If we take a look at the game’s combat, it remains true to the old school RPG formula. It doesn’t use active time battle as every character on the battlefield takes its turn. Monsters only attack on their turn, and as long as you don’t attack or make a move, the monsters won’t jump you. Unfortunately, this takes away the dynamic from combat and lowers the difficulty while on the other hand you’ll have plenty of time to plan your attacks and decide the best course of action. During combat, you’ll get to choose between a couple of options such as attack, special, magic, guard, item and flee. Attack speaks for itself while abilities are divided between skills and magic. And here comes another of the games interesting aspects. You’ll learn new skills and magic over time due to leveling up. Not only just by leveling up your characters but also by using special attacks or magic several times will cause your abilities to become more powerful.

Aside from the classic options you can choose during combat for defeating your foes, you’ll have to face off against all kinds of status effects. A Timely Intervention expands the roster of available status effects quite considerably. This makes for some extra challenges during most battles but on the other hand makes it also quite cluttered. It’s a good thing trying to create a deep and challenging gameplay, but if you try to overexert certain elements, it will become quite annoying for players who like to stroll through the story and get stuck because of multiple status effects wiping out your party.

A Timely Intervention comes in 4 difficulty settings which can be set at the start of the game going from easy, normal, and hard to legendary difficulty. Where the easiest setting pits you against enemies who fight at 75% of all their stats, the hardest, legendary, pits you against enemies who will give you hell at 150% of all their stats. This way, players get to choose which challenge they want to undertake. People looking to simply enjoy the story can choose for the easiest, while others who prefer some challenge, can take a pick between one of the harder difficulties.A timely intervention 08Conclusion

A Timely Intervention isn’t perfect, but it’s a genuine and decent attempt to revive the old school RPG genre from the ashes. Taking away the fact that this game has some imperfections, it’s still packed with enough elements that will truly entertain and entice fans of this old school genre. Aside from the fans, it will probably be hard to recommend to people who are unfamiliar with the concept of this game as they might prefer modern mechanics and aesthetics over old school. But nevertheless, if you’re growing bored with the contents of your steam library, than consider picking this one up along the way as you’ll get a decent adventure for just a low price.

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Rating: 6.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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A Timely Intervention - Review, 6.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
JasuSakura
JasuSakura


Being over 30 years old, I've been playing videogames since I've exchanged my pacifier for a game controller. I've only recently started reviewing games and it's incredibly fun to do and educational as I get to know a lot of new stuff about videogames and the industry. My favourite game genres are RPG's(strategy RPG, J-RPG,...), adventure, platforming, simulation and retro.

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