There is a new escape/puzzle game series. Pegasus released ChronoCops for SPIEL. The series started with two titles. Here the players have to stop Professor Knix and his Cronks. Inspired by point-and-click adventures, the ChronCops must travel through time and fix the timelines.

The SPIEL, as a playground for numerous innovations, was also the place where Pegasus presented the new ChronoCops series. The bright colors alone ensure that the games stand out from the often gloomy mishmash of other escape games. It shouldn't be serious here either. Inspired by point-and-click adventures, the slightly trickier case in the Da Vinci's Universal Dilemma series offers relaxed puzzle fun with a few chuckles.

The preparations for time travel are simple

As you are used to from all escape games, no great preparations are necessary to start the game. The large cards are divided into the timeline stacks of the same color, the tips, the small cards, the decoder and the answers are laid out. In addition, you put the 12 time balls in the supply and you can start.

The construction is done quickly and shows how colorful the game is. Image: Jonas Dahmen

There are also very few rules to follow. As in most representatives of the genre, you gradually gain access to additional locations, receive items and trigger events. In the open timelines, not all locations are always immediately available, but only those for which you have the appropriate timestamp.

The decoder is particularly noteworthy here. If you add, for example, to the Unlock! Playing Asmodee simply red and blue card values, this is how it is visualized Chrono Cops the connection of location and item cards on the decoder. Placing the location card on the outside and placing the item or answer card in the middle creates a line that (hopefully) leads to the next correct card. When mistaken, the careless ChronoCops have created a time paradox.

Places and objects connect on the decoder to solve a puzzle. Image: Jonas Dahmen

When creating a paradox and consulting hints, which works on the back of the decoder along the same pattern as combining locations and objects, players lose time balls. Their only purpose is to show at the end how good you were. The number of remaining time balls indicates the achieved rank. Even if you lose all twelve, the adventure is not lost.  

We threw ourselves into the adventure. In the conclusion we show how we did it and whether we can recommend the game.


Number of players: 1 to 6
Age: from 12 years
Playing time: 90 to 150 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Genre: Escape game

Authors: Matthias Prinz and Martin Kallenborn
Design: Folko Streese
Official Website: ChronoCops - Da Vinci's Universal Dilemma
Year of publication: 2022
Language: German
Cost: 25 Euro


Do we really need another series of escape and puzzle games? In the case of Chrono Cops can you answer the question in the affirmative? The nature of the puzzles isn't really innovative, but the story and the good dose of humor in the time travel adventure feel refreshingly fresh.

There is nothing wrong with the material. It stands out neither because of its particularly high nor because of its insufficient quality. The same goes for the artwork. Since the material is not destroyed when playing and is of sufficient quality, it can also be passed on with a clear conscience.

The puzzles are not really complicated. They are not challenging logic puzzles, rather you have to cleverly combine objects and locations. Nevertheless, it can happen that you get stuck in one place. This is where the biggest point of criticism lies. The hints, of which there is only one per puzzle/item, are often useless. In some places it just took us longer to come up with the right idea. The tips that should have helped only contained hints that were already clear to us anyway and are generally very obvious.

In the final briefing at the end of the adventure, the performance is evaluated based on the remaining time balls. Image: Jonas Dahmen

At one point we got really lost and in order to get any further, we had to search individual (actually closed) timelines and look at items that were still in the stack to find a clue to the solution to the puzzle. This really needs to be improved. It's always possible to get stuck in one spot for some reason. But if the tips don't make any contribution to getting closer to the solution, the fun of the game quickly drops. 

Apart from this problem, which kept us a little longer, the story is really nice. Again and again you change the course of time and sometimes create funny situations in the future. Some things don't continue the story, but just experiencing these situations is just fun. 

The time balls for evaluating the performance feel somehow strongly attached here. It's nice that (ironically despite the time travel theme) there's no timer running, like with many other genre representatives, so there's no artificial time pressure. The alternative of handing in the time balls is well intentioned, but not really in such a way that the rating exerts a great attraction. But it's not annoying either.

If you like escape and puzzle games, you should check out the games around the Chrono Cops definitely watch. Colorful optics and stories peppered with humor in what is ultimately a successful time travel adventure. The puzzles are not innovative. They offer rock solid puzzle challenges though. If the tips were improved, the overall experience would certainly be even better.

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