“Hourglass” by Patrick de Rijk & Ben Braß.

“[A]n atmospheric first-person puzzle adventure inspired by Portal, The Witness, and Rime where you have to cooperate with yourself to solve difficult puzzles, explore a foreign world and unveil the big secret of ancient [E]gypt. […] Your ability allows you to record your actings for a certain amount of time. After that, time winds back to the beginning of the recording and a copy of yourself appears, repeating the actions.”

To use a clone of your own character to your advantage is always a neat foundation for a puzzle game concept, and “Hourglass” proves to be no exception of this rule: You can simply record a copy of yourself for a short period of time. Then the game rewinds to the starting point of your recording, which will create a doppelganger, which will then perform the recorded actions. This idea in combination with the three-dimensional perspectives is a fantastic puzzle platformer experience, as you don’t just have to solve a puzzle in a linear way, but with good timing and planning skills.

The demo version of the game, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter in September 2019, contains seven puzzles so far. The first four are made mostly for tutorial purposes, but the teaching moments work very well and are not made too easy, as you still have to discover the solutions by yourself. The game helps you to get into touch with the ability, but it doesn’t take away the work designed for your brain.

I’m looking forward to see the full version of “Hourglass” for several reasons. On the one hand, the Patrick de Rijk and Ben Braß seem to have a storyline in mind, which just gets presented in the starting cutscene so far: A famous architect got lost in the ruins of a pyramid and you watch out for him. But how did he get lost or what you own relationship is to him, that’s unknown to this point. Another reason why I’m excited for the release is to see how the puzzle design will evolve over time. The two developers already named three big titles as their influences, so who knows with what else they’ll come up with. For now, I can only recommend you to open the gates of the pyramid by yourself.