It’s 1914, and we’re trying to figure out just what has happened to the crew on board the Endurance during its journey through Antarctica. Your mission is an odd one – you’re not heading back to try and save the crew, but instead trying to make sure that the supernatural goings on don’t mess around with the natural order of things. It’s tough to explain without dropping spoilers from the first paragraph of the review, but we can say one thing for sure: it’s going to be cold, and it’s going to be scary.
Expedition Endurance is the first T.I.M.E Stories expansion written after the first four scenarios were released, and as such is Space Cowboys’ first opportunity to fix some of the issues that players had reported from the earlier stories. And, for the larger part of the game at least, you can start to see signs that they’ve either listened to the feedback or fluked their way into a slightly more fluid game this time round. A couple of cards were still a little unclear, but it wasn’t hard to work out what was missing, and as such they didn’t ruin the experience.
And what good fortune that it didn’t, because Endurance is most definitely one of the better expansions that you can now get for T.I.M.E Stories, helped along by the fact that it’s based (albeit quite loosely) on a real world event which happened around the time of the First World War. There’s a fair bit of creative license being used here, but it’s great to have that added feeling of a real scenario unfolding in front of you as you dig round the ship, trying to work out what’s what and where you need to go.
The mechanics of this are interesting too, and lend themselves to a more exploratory style of playing. There are only a couple of big puzzles in play here, which don’t take overly long to figure out and certainly won’t get in the way. Combat is also left to a minimum, and while you’ll have a few moments to worry about the bulk of the game is finding your way round and worrying about what might be round the corner – I said this game could get scary, and the main reason for that is the huge dose of “but what if…” that you’ll start to feel with every decision. It’s a very effective method of keeping you on the edge of your seat. There are also a couple of new gameplay methods introduced, and while they don’t make a massive difference they certainly raised the occasional “ooooh” when things cropped up as a result.
Play time isn’t too long either, which depending on your viewpoint may be a good or bad thing. We just about scraped through this in three runs, but we made a few stupid decisions along the way and could’ve maybe finished it in two runs with a bit more luck and smart thinking. Personally this didn’t put me off too much, as while the story was shorter it was definitely one of the better ones that have been released; the combination of great writing and amazing artwork really brings the story to life, and hooked me in from the very start of the adventure.
Is it the best case available then? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s definitely pretty close. If you’ve got the main T.I.M.E Stories setup then you should definitely be taking a look at this for sure; close the curtains, put some ambient music on and get ready for a very enjoyable evening.
T.I.M.E Stories: Expedition Endurance
Available Now, RRP £21.99
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