Following closely in the tried and tested footsteps of Gnomes Garden, DayD: Through Time trades fantastical princesses and troll queens for something more futuristic and grounded. Though, let’s be honest, these games are hardly well regarded for their plots. Nevertheless, booting up the game takes you to a clean and accessible menu. Here, you can browse a handful of accolades, and alter the settings to some degree. When you’re done and dusted there, you’ll be ready to dive on into the experience at hand. So, what awaits you here?
The game introduces you to the story through a band of moving stills. The game’s lazy protagonist, Brian Sunshine, is currently celebrating the completion of his time machine. Soon after that, he charts a trip to the Jurassic period, claiming that it’ll be a blast. Brian’s old friend, Doctor Awful, has also built his own time machine. However, where Brian simply wants to go back in time to take selfies with dinos, Doctor Awful aims to alter history by bringing all of the dinosaurs under his control through the implementation of a chip.
In a bid to stop him, Brian sets off to get one up on his old buddy. Like I said, these games hardly get by on their stories alone. In fact, much like Gnomes Garden, you can safely disregard it all together and not miss a single thing. To the game’s credit, DayD is fairly accessible and easy to sink into. The world map showcases its levels, to which you’ll slowly make your way around it until you hit the end. There’s a decent tutorial present that will feed you into the basics of play; giving you a firm understanding as to how it functions.
Before each level begins, you’re told exactly what you need to do. Starting out, these tasks remain fairly simple and straightforward – repair the bridge, cover the swamp, and so on and so forth. These tasks become more plentiful and arguably more difficult later on, oftentimes giving you several jobs to juggle at once. However, with that in mind, there’s usually only one or two routes to follow regardless. The game’s level layout pretty much shows you your pathway to success. Still, there’s moments of genuine difficulty within.
It’s just a shame that these moments are few and far between. The game sports the same systems as Gnomes Garden does. DayD is a resource management game in which you’ll gather a limited variation of resources, to then spend on fulfilling your tasks, or, clearing debris and anything else that stands as an obstacle in your natural path. The gameplay is point and click-based. You’ll control a cursor and will click on things that you need to interact with, for your character to then execute the command that you have input.
The game’s UI is well structured, charting all of your necessities neatly and compact. Gathered resources are kept track on the top of the screen. There’s a star-meter to the left of the screen, keeping you informed on how your time keeping is going. Finally, your mission objective remains to the lower of the screen. There’s an option to the left of this panel that will allow you to toggle the UI on and off, giving you a better field of view overall. When all is said and done, DayD does well with its clean to-the-point presentation.
There’s an option to modify the game’s difficulty, which, by default, is set to hard. This doesn’t make your tasks any harder, but instead, forces a level restart if you allow your star-meter to completely deplete. It’s a nice addition, and something that will certainly push you to achieve your best, however, if you’re after a more relaxed ride, disabling it will set you on the right track. You’ll move through the game’s levels quite swiftly to begin with. Before too long, on the other hand, you’ll be met with a collection of fairly outlandish tasks that gradually get tougher.
That being said, and as aforementioned, there’s usually only a few ways in which you can complete these. The characters that follow your commands are set to a specific path, in which the things that you interact with often block said path. Using resources gathered from the map, you’ll typically remove these obstacles in order to reach your objectives. For instance, you may need to reach some dinosaur bones, but a live dinosaur sits in your way. You’ll need to build a special hut for your own dinosaur, and then use that to chase the path-blocking dinosaur away.
There’s also stages in which things need to be repaired more than once. I found that in just the first few levels, bridges oftentimes need several waves of repairs before they’re fixed. It adds a bit more length to each level, but it’s hardly revolutionary. If anything, it just stretches out an already tired concept. Much like Gnomes Garden, you can indeed build your own structures to help you obtain resources faster. These can be upgraded to produce even more resources, as can your worker’s hut; giving you more hands on deck, so to speak, for added multitasking.
The problem in all of this is that it just feels too much like Gnomes Garden. There’s been a few functional improvements to the core structure, granted, but it’s still a game that’s going to tire you out through its lack of evolution. The gameplay just doesn’t change, which only makes for a very repetitive and tedious experience come the later stages. That being said, if you enjoy these types of games, DayD is certainly going to be serviceable. There’s a lot of content to work through for its cost, giving fans of the formula a few hours of fun in return for a generous price.
Touching up on its visual and audio design, DayD is more refined in comparison to any of the Gnomes Garden games that have released in rapid succession recently. There’s a nice variation of environments to work through, but even so, it still looks like that of a ported Facebook game. Sadly, I cant quite commend the audio. The soundtrack is painfully annoying, with audio cues that reflects the same dull vibe, over and over. The bottom line in all of this is that if you’ve played that comparison series, then you’ve played this. Make of that, ladies and gents, what you will.
Despite housing a generous amount of content, the game’s core systems lack depth and variety, and whilst DayD: Through Time makes a few functional improvements when compared to Gnomes Garden, it still falls short due to its tedious loop. That said, if you’re a fan of this simplistic concept, DayD is certainly going to be serviceable. If, on the other hand, you prefer something robust and challenging, look elsewhere.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.