Having played just over 20 hours to reach its end, I must say that Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers is a release that fails to take advantage of its great premise. Time-traveling isn’t used enough in gaming as far as I’m concerned, especially for RPGs that take place outside of medieval times. But Tick-Tock Travelers eventually surrenders to clichés, losing many of the interesting elements that made it seem like a great game early on.

You play as a young kid named Sherry in a town frozen in time. Clocknee could’ve been a great town to explore – a poster child for Y2K fears – but it’s potential is never fully realized. Even though you visit in a few different periods, enemies are too numerous to make exploring every nook and cranny enjoyable. There’s also little in the way of secondary characters, and side quests are few.

Now as a lead character, Sherry has her moments, and using a hair dryer as a weapon is a fun idea for sure. But with no vocals, I found it hard to care about her, or any of her friends, as much as I should’ve. I also didn’t learn enough about their personalities. While there are five friends to play as Tick-Tock Travelers limits your party to three. Since one is always Issac, the robot time machine, you’re really limited to choosing two of the four. If ever an RPG needed to ditch this dated party approach, it’s this game.

The limited party also takes a damper on combat. There’s little incentive to juggle characters when the battles are so easy – no options to increase the challenge. Even Isaac, who has swappable forms (firefighter, cowboy, boxer, etc.) that you can customize with gears, works just as well in his default setting. Why bother transforming? Needing to keep Isaac alive or face a game over is an interesting wrinkle, but only once during all my play did I ever feel he was threatened; and that was at the final boss encounter.

The combat, in general, lacks the depth I desired. With nonstop backtracking and respawning enemies, you’ll be fighting constantly, but challenged rarely. The game also caps your level at 50, which I hit a few hours before reaching the final boss. At that point, I tried to escape battles, as they no longer served a purpose except to repetitively waste my time.

These combat issues are a real shame because there are some really good ideas here. The fun concept that is Sherry’s weapon extends to the enemies you’ll face. Fighting machines like blenders, cameras, steam irons, televisions, toasters, and more is quite amusing. But the party limitations, the general ease, and the level cap do no favors.

Early on the story trumps any combat disappointments, but eventually abandons itself. It tries to assign a weight to the threats that is unnecessary. Breaking away from sci-fi for talk of a goddess and souls makes Tick-Tock Travelers feel like parts of two RPGs duct-taped together.  Why not completely embrace the time travel phenomenon and the mystery around it? It’s potential is teased, but unrealized.

Much like the combat and story, the game’s aesthetics are mixed. I recommend playing on a television for the best viewing. In handheld mode, the resolution seems to suffer, with blurry visuals and darker colors. While the graphics don’t impress much, the character models of Sherry and her friends effectively convey childhood innocence. The accompanying music is pretty good, but not great. There’s no stand out tracks in my mind, but it’s nice to play in the background, especially since the vocals are MIA.

Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers starts off great, with a promising story and fun enemies. But the longer I played, the weaker it became. It’s a simple game (move from point A to point B in a linear fashion) and a short one by RPG standards, so kids might be entertained by it for a while. But the story ultimately resigns itself to cliches, and the backtracking and repetition combine to make this just an average game, at best.