Well we all run Out of Time eventually, and this is especially so for the Back to the Future adventure game series, unfortunately good things do not last forever, if they do, well they fizzle out and die, just look at Heroes. We've had some laughs with Doc and Marty, we've had some surprises, we've changed the future for the better, and for the worse, and boy has it been a good ride.
With the final episode of Back to the Future now upon us, I believe it is impossible to critique such a game without dropping a few spoilers here and there, so I forewarn you, you may read some snippets of information that you do not want to. If you want to see my impressions of the series as a whole, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this review and see what we think.
It becomes very obvious from the start of the episode that Telltale have decided to raise the stakes as high as possible, they want to reel you into their trap, instil a bit of paranoia and put everyone, against keeping a future that involves Marty.
As the series has so far proven, Back to the Future is not an obscure puzzle game, it doesn't hand the puzzles to the player on a plate, but it keeps the solutions within easy grasp of most wandering minds. Simple and intuitive puzzles are the way forward for adventure games, long ago are the days of Discworld and Gabriel Knight, having you perform ridiculous tasks and combinations to solve the most ambiguous of puzzles imaginable.
In fact, Outtatime has some pretty clever tricks up Marty's sleeve that you will use against your biggest obstacles; Edna Strickland, Citizen Brown and Father Brown himself. It only requires an ample amount of exploration, thinking and you’ll be second-guessing the solutions to your problems, just like one of those films that make you feel really clever.
The last episode in the series revolves around the famous Science Fair that made Doc Brown the ingenious inventor that he is in the films, and much like the previous episode, a lot of it is played out at the fair, so expect to experience some good old 50s inventions of the future, including the soundproof wireless telephone box, phone helmet, glass house and fruit refreshed daily by helicopters, not to mention a bathysphere demonstrated by the famous Jacques Douteux.
Not everything is shiny and happy in the universe of Back to the Future, there are sticky situations here and there, common sense will always prevail; after all a future without Marty is no future worth participating in. You'll also become witness to a rather important twist to the game, which you may or may not have seen coming, either way, you better be prepared to convince everyone that one little nugget of information that you’ve known about Edna Stickland since you first met her; she’s a total fruitcake.
As a fan of Back to the Future you will be used to a change in the past affecting the present day, it usually involves Marty turn invisible, however we see an extreme version of the past catching up when Hill Valley is transformed into an empty field. Coincidentally you are directed to the house of Mary Pickford, an old woman who has a similar resemblance to the Edna Strickland of the future, perhaps she has something to do with this, after all, she's changed the future in the past before.
An ongoing occurrence in the series is the act of rectifying ones mistakes, Marty has made a handful of them in the time that we have been given him, and whilst we didn't see very much of the future, perhaps this will be reserved for a second series? The series goes to prove that no one is perfect, especially not the player, you cannot ever fix anything that is broken, and that in the future, everyone is an asshole.
Throughout the series the voice acting has been superb, A.J LoCascio has done Marty McFly justice impeccably in every line spoken, and the use of Christopher Lloyd voicing Doc Brown himself is fantastic. Episode 5 also sneaks in an appearance of Michael J. Fox, but we’ll leave you to guess who he is, likely your hairs will simply rise to attention when you hear Michael returning to the franchise even if it is only for a short amount of time.
Outtatime is a great send-off to a very nostalgic adventure game series, whilst adventure games have gotten very easy of late, you cannot knock a new series from Telltale, plus with the hint of a potential second series; we will be able to return in Back to the Future. At great value for money, The Back to the Future series has a run-time of around 10 hours, and for half the price of a standard retail game, you cannot go wrong. Fans of the series will be endeared by a return to their beloved universe, and newcomers will find a charming, and engaging adventure game, just try not to pick at too many loopholes, timetravel is a delicate matter.
Back to the Future: The Game is available now for $24.99 for the five episode series, if you've putting this series off because you've been waiting to play it all in one lump, now is the time to purchase.