Into a crowded fall gaming season packed with games I had planned to cover weeks in advance comes Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers, which took me completely by surprise. It’s an incredibly charming and cartoonish turn-based role-playing game filled with cute kids and even cuter robots. Out this week for the PlayStation 4 and Switch, it’s a game that first had me going “oh hey, what’s this” to then realizing I’d found my favorite new thing in a span of several hours.
Released in Japan in March of this year, Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers is the story of Sherry, a plucky young girl living in the quaint historic town of Clocknee. While attending the town’s New Year’s “Soulman Fest” with her mother, time suddenly freezes, leaving nearly every resident frozen in mid-celebration. As if that weren’t strange enough, the town’s machines begin coming to life, attacking the lucky few who’ve somehow avoided stasis. Fortunately for Sherry, her absent, workaholic father left a gift to help her survive the temporal calamity: a large, time traveling robot named Isaac. Accompanied by her new robot buddy and also her gadget-loving friend Pegreo, Sherry takes a trip into Clocknee’s past to figure out what’s gone wrong with its future.
But first, they need to scavenge some parts to make Isaac time travel ready. Watch me battle robots big and small as I hunt for important gadgets in the video below.
I have no idea how Destiny Connect; Tick-Tock Travelers managed to fly under my radar. The cartoon-style characters, retro-futuristic robot designs, traditional turn-based combat, and lighthearted adventure all add up to be a game that’s exactly my jam. I fell in love the moment Sherry stumbled upon chonky robot Isaac in the secret basement of her father’s study.
It keeps getting better from there. The battles are simple at first, little more than waiting my turn to hit the attack button, but soon Sherry and friends begin learning special skills, defining their roles in combat and unlocking new strategic choices. Pegreo, for instance, is a timid, fearful character who follows Sherry into battle out of loyalty when it’s obvious he’d rather flee. His moves reflect his personality; for example, his Panic Bomb ability harnesses his fear into a massive attack against all enemies with a chance to cause confusion. His love of gadgets shines in skills like Energy Trap, a device that damages an enemy whenever they use one of their own skills, perfect for boss battles.
While human characters unlock new skills as they level, Isaac the robot has a more mechanical upgrade path. Certain vendors in the game can craft and install gears for Isaac using materials found in treasure chests or rewarded after battles. These gears can be fitted inside of Isaac, increasing his stats and unlocking new abilities.
Eventually, Isaac gains the ability to change into other forms, each with a specific role in the party and each with a unique gear to upgrade. So he’s not just a robot, he’s a transforming robot. Could this be any more my type of game?
There are so many games I need to play this fall. For a game to come out of nowhere and grab and hold my attention, it has to be something special. Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers fits that bill. It’s a lighthearted role-playing adventure with outstanding robots that tickles my sense of childlike wonder.