Time To Review Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PlayStation 3
Developer: Supermassive Games

Publisher: BBC Worldwide
Rating: E (ESRB) / 12 (PEGI)

Let me preface this review with some points that to some, may make me unfit to review a Doctor Who game. I am not familiar with the series, I am not a big fan of puzzles shoehorned into other genres, and I do not care for frustratingly difficult games. Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock might be for those into what I am against, however, so if the hat fits, take the “time” to read below.

If you’re still interested in what I have to say, I will say that each of these points should be taken with a grain of salt. What I might not care for others may like, however there are some issues worth noting that cannot be defended. Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock feels as if the game were created in the TARDIS. It is surrounded in Doctor Who reference, but no one outside would know what’s going on. Also, it might be perceived as a tight fit to outsiders, though there’s a decent amount game for those that know what they’re getting into.

The game is an adventure game, with a story told loosely and therefore only assumed to be instantly familiar to fans of the series. While I felt left out the more the story progressed, I will say the game has gotten me interested in watching the show. Regarding the nuts and bolts – the controls – they work, but feel stiff. See how I awkwardly referenced nuts and bolts? Sonic screwdriver. Fans know what that is, and while fun to use in the game, I still do not. You do get to wave it around as a type of in-game hint device and to open doors by way of a fun little encryption lock. There’s touch screen puzzles, which I assume are variations of the PS3 version of the game. Thing is, you cannot opt out of this control method. I like touch controls when it is seamless and fitting, but this feels unnecessary at times. Why also allow me to tap on my ally when asking for a hand up a wall, for example, and make everything a choice, presenting Vita features as a bonus and not a jarring foot in the door. The Near feature is also used, but without context I don’t know what I’m sharing and therefore don’t care about the feature.

This game does from what I can tell, a fine job inserting plenty of familiar Doctor Who material. OK, the graphics do look like it came from the past, maybe before the current reboot of the show. The good music, authentic voiceover work, and short cut scenes did get me interested in a universe I previously knew nothing about. There’s also hats from different periods that the lead character must enjoy collecting on his travels, tucked away as collectable items in hidden paths. I don’t always bother with collectibles, but it’s a collectable fun crawling through that passageway to obtain because they each have a voiceover description in the collection portion of the menu. The Vita version of Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock does not feature multiplayer, though it feels like it should. My suspicion is that the PS3 version does, and that the multiplayer wouldn’t have worked on the handheld format. That’s fine by me, since it isn’t that you always have the other character around. It would have been nice to at least have ad hoc drop in and out, though, in case a friend happens to have the game. Let me address the difficulty. The puzzles even on the easy setting, can be tough. I don’t claim to be good at puzzles, but I would like to see the degree of challenge be more precise. I put it on easy after starting the game, which is a cool feature, by the way, but still felt like (more of) a dope when I couldn’t complete a puzzle. But there are people who like a challenging game, and some puzzles do present that so I won’t knock it.

Also, the game isn’t very mobile friendly, as some levels take longer than others and there isn’t always a checkpoint handy. Don’t swipe sway the game until you know you saw the save, as despite completing distinct sections within a level, your progress might not be saved until you finish the level. As you can tell, I have mixed opinions about Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock. Maybe some issues could be addressed, but there’s an easy way to sum things up. If you’re a fan of the series you might find a worthwhile experience out of the game, but this shouldn’t be the only redeeming factor. Maybe you like a challenge, though even that could have been done better. Otherwise, and especially if neither of those interest you, I would advise against. It might not be worth your time. I will now take what I gathered from the game and pursue my new interest in the Doctor Who show and visit a haberdashery.

  • chi

    hi. i just got this game and i can’t figure out how to save it on the vita. any help?

  • Travis

    You’ll get to a save point that will let you know your progress is saved. It just feels like there should be more checkpoints, based on the design of the levels.

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