Lets do the Time Loop again: Time loops in video games

Lets do the Time Loop again: Time loops in video games
On February 2, the world celebrates Groundhog Day - well, at least the part of it who saw the cult film "Groundhog Day" released in 1993. TV weather announcer Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, lives through the same 24 hours over and over again. Until he finally finds a way to break the vicious circle. We at PCGames are of course happy to take part and present you some of the best video games with a time loop theme to celebrate the day.

Table of Contents

1 Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son 2 Minit 3 Elsinore 4 Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII 5 The Sexy Brutale 6 Outer Wilds 7 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Recommended editorial Content At this point you can find external content from [PLATTFORM]. To protect your personal data, external integrations are only displayed if you confirm this by clicking on "Load all external content": Load all external content I consent to external content being displayed to me. This means that personal data is transmitted to third-party platforms. Read more about our privacy policy . External content More on this in our data protection declaration.

Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son

Just the dad: In Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son, Phil Connors Jr is stuck in a time warp that lets him relive Groundhog Day again and again. Source: Tequila Works / Sony What would be more obvious than starting this list with a game about "Groundhog Day" yourself? Under the title Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son, a quasi-sequel to the feature film was released in 2019, in which you slip into the role of Phil Connors Junior this time. Its story takes place around 30 years after his father's antics, but the problems remain the same: After Phil has returned to his hometown Punxsutawney, he is also caught in a time loop and - as in the past - has to go to February 2nd over and over again experience. Those who know the original can expect a lot of old things: Every morning you will be woken up by Sonny and Cher's "I got You Babe" on the radio. On the other hand, there is also a lot of new things, such as the Internet or smartphones, that help Phil solve small puzzles, collect information and escape his recurring nightmare. By the way, you can now experience it up close, thanks to virtual reality.


In Minit you only play 60-second gameplay bites. Unfortunately, there is no time for a relaxed chat with the sloth lighthouse keeper. Source: Devolver Digital In Minit, the name says it all: The indie title from Devolver Digital only ever offers you small 60-second gameplay bites. Then you bite the grass and have to start over. This time pressure sounds a bit daunting at first, but in the long run the black and white adventure develops a real pull. This is partly due to some really nice ideas, for example in terms of the main character: In Minit you play a platypus who one day finds a cursed sword on the beach that condemns you to a "one-minute fly". The next step is to explore the world in classic Zelda fashion and solve tasks: for example, you have to kill crabs for a bar owner, collect wood for a boat or defeat an angry oasis spirit. For these wonderfully varied tasks, you collect all kinds of objects that you can use to your advantage in the next round. No rogue-like! Minit is rounded off by a bizarre humor, a wonderful soundtrack and a unique look in the Game Boy pixel look.


Shakespeare's lines are too boring for you? Then the Hamlet version in Elsinore could be something for you. Source: Golden Glitch If you are into classic English dramas, you should take a closer look at Elsinore. The point-and-click adventure tells the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet - just from a completely new perspective. The assassination of the Danish king and the associated Sperenzien are told here from the perspective of Ophelia, who actually only plays a minor role in the literary original. The young woman woke up from a horrific nightmare on a summer night: in four days, every resident of her castle will have blessed the temporal! Of course you want to prevent that and to do this you live the same four days over and over again until the tragedy occurs. Meanwhile you navigate through your own rooms, talk to the people there and try to influence their fate. Depending on how you go about it, you can expect one of a total of 13 times more, sometimes less beautiful endings - such as your admission to the madhouse or a fatal stab in the back. After all: After each run you can keep the knowledge you have acquired and do it better next time.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Collecting souls for the good Lord: The job of Lightning who was named Savior by Bhunivelze is really not an easy one. Source: Square Enix

Lightning Returns is, admittedly, a minor outlier on this list. Because per se you don't experience a classic time loop that repeats itself over and over again. The title plays a lot more with a nasty time limit - like a certain Nintendo title that we will get to later. In the second expansion of Final Fantasy XIII you take control of the eponymous Lightning. She was awakened from her crystal sleep by the god Bhunivelze and appointed his Redeemer. In plain language: Before humanity goes down the drain in 13 days, you have to collect as many souls as possible, with which the new world will then be populated. With the apocalypse behind you, you travel through the game world, interact in classic role-playing manner with NPCs and objects or fight yourselves in the chic, ATB-based combat system with nasty opponents. But you always have to keep an eye on the clock. Because if you are too generous with your available hours, you will not be able to do everything before the last day and will see the game-over screen. Then you have to start over in a kind of New Game Plus, but at least keep items and skills from your previous game run. So, in a way, also a loop.

The Sexy Brutale

The masks in The Sexy Brutale are not just pretty decorations. Each of them also brings individual gameplay benefits with it. Source: PC Games The Sexy Brutale not only has a rather unusual name, the premise of the 3D puzzle adventure also sounds very promising: In the person of Priest Lafcadio Boone, you were invited to the casino villa that gave it its name to a never-ending game Attending a masquerade ball full of murder and intrigue. "Never wanting to end" is to be taken literally, because all party guests are stuck in a twelve-hour time loop, in the end of which they are murdered again and again in the most bizarre way. As a player, it is now your job to uncover the secret of "The Sexy Brutale" and its inhabitants. To do this, you sneak through the property, eavesdrop on the guests and poke through keyholes. Just like a game from the Hitman series, the point is to first study the daily routines of the NPCs and then come up with a plan. Only this time you have to thwart assassinations instead of committing them. Because that's the only way to break the loop. In short: the indie pearl combines point & click gameplay with exaggerated comic art style and funny dialogues. It's definitely worth a look.

Outer Wilds

A campfire in space? Outer Wilds is not so strict about logic and accuracy, but that doesn't detract from the fun of the game. Source: Steam When Outer Wilds was released in 2019, it was showered with awards. The title won, among other things, the Golden Joystick Award for best indie game, the BAFTA award for the best game design and the GOTY award from various well-known publications. And that despite a really simple basic idea: You slip into the role of the newest recruit from Outer Wilds Ventures, a relatively new space program. With your nameless astronaut you set out to solve a freely explorable, ever-changing space puzzle - about a star system that is caught in a never-ending time warp. Every 22 minutes the sun explodes here and devours all life. A hard reset follows and everything starts all over again. Unless you can find a way to end this mess. Visit an underground city before it goes down in the sand. Explore the surface of a planet as it crumbles under your feet. Study the remains of the extinct alien race, the Nomai. Or just sit by the campfire and try to roast the perfect marshmallow. Your adventure, your decision.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask the moon threatens to collide with the earth and in the process wipe out all human life. Source: PC Games A video about time loops in video games is of course not complete without The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - quasi the forefather of the subgenre, which in November 2000 was sometimes the first game to attempt a cycle-like structure and also with a rousing one Story full of sadness combined. In search of his lost fairy friend Navi, Link ends up in the parallel world of Termina, which is threatened by a dark fate: the end of life through the impact of the moon, which stands in the sky with a diabolical grin. Our pointy-eared hero only has three days to avert the end of the world, although fortunately this time pressure is not as bad as it sounds. Thanks to the Ocarina of Time, you can travel back in time again and again, losing rubies, bombs and arrows as well as any quest progress, but keeping all key items and your collected knowledge. In this way you quickly get to know the daily routines and connections within the game world and you will soon find a way out of your time travel odyssey - which with its 24 individual masks and their skills, crisp bosses, gripping dungeons and the typical Zelda charm is still highly recommended even 20 years later .

Of course, that wasn't all games with a time loop theme. This year alone, three more titles await us with the PS5 Exclusive Returnal, Arkane Sudios' Deathloop and the indie adventure 12 Minutes, which are based on a constantly repeating cycle. So there will be enough genre replenishment for the coming months.

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