Trapped within a bomb shelter, 9 people must do whatever it takes to escape and find out the truth. Explore the timelines and use what you learn to arrive at the truth.
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma is the third title in the Zero Escape series. This time, the mastermind is Zero the Second, and he has trapped nine people within a bomb shelter. In order to escape, six people will need to die in some way. With each person that dies an X-Pass gets revealed. X-Passes are the keys to opening the door to escape. Once the door has been opened, it will stay open for 30 seconds before closing, and at after that it will never open again. Without going into too much detail, I did enjoy the story overall. I did feel like some plot points were left open or unexplained at the end, and these have left me wondering as to why they were left like that.
Through all of the different paths you will experience a lot of different endings. Most of these endings are Game Overs, but some of them will lead to an “actual” ending. Seeing all of the Game Overs started to feel pretty heart wrenching as I watched these characters I was growing attached to get killed over and over again.
Besides the story, one of the biggest draws to Zero Time Dilemma is the puzzles. Set in an “Escape Room” setting, the team you are in control of must solve the puzzles within the room in order to get out. Having a notebook on hand to take notes is an extremely handy thing to do if you don’t want to have to constantly cross reference between a bunch of different in-game things. There was an overall good variety in the puzzles, though there were some that did repeat in different rooms. The handful of repeated puzzles were a bit disappointing, but compared to the overall amount of unique ones it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.
One of the key points in Zero Time Dilemma is the fact you are playing the Decision Game. Like the AB Game of Virtue’s Last Reward, your choices during the Decision Game will set you down the different paths of the timeline. While you may jump around a bit during your time with the different teams, everything will eventually all connect together. There are times during the Decision Game in which you may not have the answer just yet, but you’ll find that through more playing you’ll arrive at the answer.
I enjoyed the vast majority of both the music and art style within Zero Time Dilemma. The music always felt like it fit the situation going on. The voice acting is much the same – it felt well done and seemed to fit the characters well. I felt the art was all generally done well, but there were some points in which characters faces got a bit scary from the camera angle. I did also notice a few points in which the characters would be saying something but their mouths weren’t moving all all.
I tried the PC version of Zero Time Dilemma with both a mouse and a controller. Overall, I felt that the game was much easier to control with a mouse, though that’s likely due to the fact the game is also on 3DS and Vita. When using controller, it felt like navigating through the puzzles and items-on-hand was fairly clunky. The on-screen controls will still show up as controller buttons regardless of which setup you go with. Using mouse in the game just felt so much more fluid.
Depending on how long it takes you to solve the puzzles, you’ll be looking at anywhere between 24 and 40 hours to complete Zero Time Dilemma. I’d say that the game is definitely worth the current asking price of $40. The story was quite well done, even if I am questioning some of the plot points that were left open. The puzzles are also quite well done, and some of the choices in the Decision Game will prove to be quite challenging to actually make. The game gets a very easy recommendation from me if you have a Vita or can play it on Steam (I have heard that the 3DS version isn’t quite as good as the other two).
Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma Review Score
I would like to thank Spike Chunsoft for providing me with a copy of the Steam version for review purposes.