Page Chronica is a side-scrolling action-platformer about a librarian named Topez. While doing her librarian duties, Topez comes across a strange book that she has never seen before in all of her years working at the Universal Library in the Infinite Palace. Both bored and disgruntled with her job, she decides to investigate the strange book, releasing an evil entity known as Big Bad. Big Bad goes on to corrupt the World of Stories and it is up to Topez to set things right. Page Chronica is like Rayman meets Bookworm; it adds word-puzzle elements to the already popular side-scrolling action-platformer genre. The player slows down time by entering Page World, a dimension where Topez can grab floating letters from the air with her mind in order to create words.
Page Chronica can feel a tad bit clunky and slow at times. The flow of the game is manageable in terms of 2D side-scrolling action-platformers, but for a game that requires the player to slow the game down further in order to acquire more power spells, it can get a tad bit tedious. The game rewards more advanced spells for more advanced words. By adding Special Letters to the word being formulated, the player gains the ability to use more powerful spells. Each special letter used will be added to the Special Word. Once the Special Word is formed, the player can use Special Spells. If that seems a tad bit confusing, it’s because it’s a tad bit confusing. The game never really goes into detail on WHAT these Special Spells are, but they make you aware that they could possibly be in your destiny. In Bookworm it is understood that flaming letters are bonus points because everything that comes of it is rewarding. In Page Chronica the player must merely experiment with the acquired powers, but the range of damage done from the power of a “Great” word seems to be pretty comparable to the power of an “Excellent” word. Enemies are more of an inconvenience than a challenge, and realized that 80% of the enemies can be avoided puts a damper on the incentive to find a “Magnificent” word. Players have 10 minutes on each stage and an infinite amount of lives. The usable words aren’t nearly as loosely accepted as in Word With Friends on Facebook, but aren’t overly limited either.
The music is fitting for the game, much like the way that Sonic 1-3 music was fitting for their respective titles. Where the soundtrack is lacking is in musical variety. The music from each level blends seamlessly, but it’s because the music on each level is extremely similar or the same. The music is more of an accommodation in Page Chronica, like elevator music. The player is more drawn to the game and putting together words than they are to the music, but when the player does tune in the music can be rather annoying due to the repetitiveness. The sound of the character using magic and killing enemies is significantly quieter than the sound of the character jumping. While that is not a big deal, it definitely makes no sense. There are times where it isn’t clear that the enemy has died until the final cloud of smoke appears where their body once was. All in all the sound lacks consistency in SFX, and the subtle, adventurous melody in the background is nice at first, but leaves the player ready to plug their ears by the end of the stage. It’s surprising that they didn’t slip the Brown Note in there.
The presentation in this game is colorful and has a 2D Fable feel to it in terms of art styling. The problem is that while the color and details can be nice on some things, like trees and spells and the background, the colors of the enemies can sometimes leave them hidden in plain sight. The floating letters in the background block enemies and items out, most commonly on the levels set at night. While the player may not be told what spell they have acquired, the spells are identified by color, with the weaker ones being small and closer to an ice blue, where stronger attacks have a larger, more orangish-red look to them. There is not much variety in enemy characters, and the placement of enemies can be ridiculously frustrating or surprisingly easy. To elaborate, there are times when enemies are placed in impossible formations where the character just has to take a hit, while a lot of times the player can just hop right past a group of enemies.
All in all, Page Chronica is a game that was a great idea, but was limited due to the clash with the word-puzzle and action-platformer genres. This is a game that most fans of the genre(s) will enjoy, but it is not a game that does anything more than offer an average experience and a game to pick up for a half-hour or so here and there.