If you could relive your life from any point...
...how far would you turn back the hands of time?
ChronoClock, albeit being a bit older, is a beautiful Visual Novel that can certainly hold it's own against modern competitors. While not fully qualifying as a Nakige this game packs more of a serious, emotional story than it might seem, offers high quality artworks and many features even modern titles don't have.
Graphical & Technical Quality
Lets start this off by saying: ChronoClock has some flaws.
While I can't agree that the overall translation is bad as some people claim just because "it's Sekai Project's doing", the translation of the settings sure is weird. Compared to them the stronger accents of certain over-stereotyped characters look like a funny feature.
And speaking of settings, if you truly want to customize the engine's behaviour you need to fiddle around with the seperate settings program in the installation folder - which is not translated at all, so you need both a locale emulator and a translator of some kind to understand what you are doing. Though this is a worthy one-time investment because the settings there beat even the KiriKiri Advanced Settings menu.
Other than that: ChronoClock is a really good Visual Novel.
It might only be available in 720p but the artstyle and the details put into it are gorgeous nonetheless. We even get a few animated backgrounds and some cutscenes, as a compensation for not animated character sprites that only change once per scene max. The voice acting, just like the soundtrack, are quite enjoyable and we even have full self-introduction scenes for the characters that randomly auto-play when idling in the main menu.
When talking about features, ChronoClock too packs more than one might guess.
Besides the known standard with 108 simple save slots, auto and skip alongside the general ability to jump through the story back and forth and all that stuff, we have some high level gimmicks too.
Customizable mouse gestures, a customizable quick menu bar, a dynamic textbox (switchable) and even a "Pause Game" feature, which autosaves on exit and jumps right back to where you were on the next startup.
Or how about customizing auto-play speed based on dialogue character count?
Settings for the fading times of the "auto-lower BGM on voiceline" feature?
Customizing the characters names with individual color gradients, alongside normal situational font color options?
ChronoClock sure shows off some great usability, making it one of the most advanced VNs I've played, especially considering it's age compared to modern titles.
Story, Content & Runtime
What can you expect from this game?
A combination of silly humor and deep meanings.
Rei Sawatari, future heir of the biggest company in town and hence more of a celebrity than he likes for his easygoing life, comes into possession of an old pocket watch - a heirloom from his late grandfather. This weird, seemingly broken watch you can't change the time on and that always hangs behind by exactly five minutes soon turns out to be much more than that:
By luckily, magically avoiding death in a traffic accident he finds out that this pocket watch is an artifact inhabited by the spirit of the great Chronos - Goddess of time, coming with it's own sexy guardian spirit. And so, our carefree protagonist gained a new ability to make his life a lot easier: The ability to turn back time by exactly five minutes, once per hour.
His new life is great.
Ignoring the annoying spirit only he can see or hear, there are so many thing to do with this newfound power. Like earning good money by cheating in local lotteries or reverting any mistakes when hitting on the girls in his class, looking for that one thing money can't buy - love.
Though if there is one thing we should have learned so far - time travel dramas don't end well.
Power comes with responsibilities, and even the power of time travel has it's limitations that can easily screw you over - something Rei has to learn sooner or later.
And so, the story is about to change. On this very fateful day - the day a girl fell from the school's roof and died.
ChronoClock offers a rich, multi-layered story mixing slice of life humor, even fourth wall breaking, and a serious, rich story for each and every heroine.
Besides the protagonist we have 4 different heroines, 2 more main characters and the male sidekick. All of them have a solid background story, story involvement and character development.
Yes, the male sidekick is not too annoying and the protagonist is an actual character with a face shown quiet often.
The heroines seem to be overexaggerated stereotypes at first, but have a hidden side to them explored on their routes.
There are 5 routes and 6 different endings (one unlockable true route with true ending and another unlockable bonus ending), each focussed on another problem arising with the protagonist's time travel ability. They have different ending movies and even the main menu background changes on progress. Also, this time there is no "no route" bad ending because you basically only have 3 different choices to directly choose the heroine you want.
With all this, you can easily expect the usual 60h of not rush-skipped content.
After finishing one route you unlock the "Memories" where you can re-enjoy the 57 CGs and 5 SDs of the game, sorted by character, 31 OSTs, as well as watch the intro movie and the character introductions.
The R18 Content
Now this is where things get complicated.
Most people probably look for VNs on Steam. Easily enough will they find ChronoClock there - as a stripped down "all-ages" version like most Bishoujo Eroges, mind you. The problem now is that there is no official DLC/Patch to restore the adult content.
The Steam version simply has it not included, though nude sprites and nude CGs, as they are somewhat story relevant, remain intact - even the empty slots in the gallery where the H-CGs would be are still there and the settings state something about R18 too.
On the other hand, the actual H-Scenes are all fully optional - they all have to be manually accessed from the main menu's H-Scene menu, so you don't really miss out on anything with the Steam version - I can fully recommend the Steam version of ChronoClock. In the end, it's up to you to decide which version to get.
Though if you are still interested in what there is to gain or lose:
Every (and I mean every) heroine has 2 scenes. They contain the obligatory bit of buildup story but mostly only revolve around the characters doing it.
The scenes are linear, don't contain sound effects or background moaning, though better voice acting.
No fetishes are served.
When it comes to the inhuman stamina of the actors or overall intensity of the action, it is rather mild - but they aren't afraid to depict bodily fluids.
And finally - it is fully uncensored (except for the lower part of nude sprites). Which, alongside the overall great art style, looks certainly not like the worst I have seen.
Is this game worth it?
If you, like me, have been looking for a more serious, deep story despite there being adult content, then this is a good recommendation for you. There still is a notable amount of Slice of Life humor, but serious and silly are balanced out quite well.
And if you are unsure, there is always another Steam sale!
Unless you want the R18 version that is.