Sawbuck Gamer

Undo The End

Apocalypse Then

Your time-traveling iPhone is the world’s salvation in Undo The End.

By Steve Heisler • May 29, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

In the first Terminator movie, Kyle Reese is sent back in time by John Connor to protect his mom from Arnold Schwarzenegger. This opens up a classic paradox: The future father of John Connor was sent back by John Connor to impregnate his mom, so that she could give birth to him, so that he could then grow up and send his own father back in time…

Undo The End has a similarly mind-bending twist. The world has been destroyed, and you are part of a rebel team trying to trace the exact moment everything went wrong. The war-torn cityscape presents the occasional kill-bot or tower of tanks, and since you’re weaponless, you can only avoid these horrors by using a device gifted to you by your team. It looks like an iPhone and sends you back in time for a few seconds—before, say, there was that gaping hole in the highway.

Other than this modest conceit, the game plays like a simple platformer: You have infinite lives and the ability to start roughly near where you die, so if you play long enough, you’ll eventually get to the end. In that way, Undo The End is a story that you advance with a few simple leaps and past-flashes. That sounds like a mundane enterprise, but it’s engrossing in its own way: As with Terminator, it’s hard to shake the feeling that any moment now, the past, present, and future will all be explained at once.

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19 Responses to “Apocalypse Then”

  1. HobbesMkii says:

    The controls are just the right amount of temperamental and sticky that it infuriates me. Much like all platformers.

    • Xtracurlyfries says:

      “Temperamental and Sticky” is my Metallica cover band.

      • HobbesMkii says:

         Interesting. That’s what I call my penis.

        • Xtracurlyfries says:

          You call your penis ‘Metallica’? I hope you’re getting that checked out.

        • HobbesMkii says:

           @Xtracurlyfries:disqus I would, but my doctor says I can’t come into his office anymore if I’m just going to wave my dick around. It’s kind of a “boy who cried wolf” situation.

  2. Merve says:

    The ending had only one choice and one colour of explosion. My entire journey was for nothing. I demand a refund!

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      We’ve heard your feedback, and will now offer FOUR explosion colors to choose from!  Cyan, Magenta, Yellow or Black!

  3. stakkalee says:

    Slight and inconsequential.  10 minutes of gameplay, 5 minutes of fun.

  4. Aaron Riccio says:

    It was almost worth it for the horrendous dialogue . . . except that there was hardly any game. It would be disrespectful to call this a platformer, slow and blocky as the movement is, and given how much of the game is nothing more than pushing the right arrow key, with the occasional use of the space button. Might this be a cool concept? Perhaps, if you knew what the other world looked like so that you’d really have to flip between them, but as is now? The game ends with a “To Be Continued” screen . . . so yeah, don’t just “Undo the End” — “Undo the Beginning,” and just give me my time back.

  5. Girard says:

    In other Sawbuckey news, Adam Cadre (of Photopia and Varicella fame) has a new IF game out called “Endless, Nameless,” which is pretty cool so far:

    Also, I think this has already been mentioned, but there are about a jillion games on sale for less than a sawbuck over the next few days:

  6. caspiancomic says:

    I’m with the comments section, this blew. A good example of a really cool concept being squandered. Browser games are usually a great place to go for pure gaming, or at least gaming where the narrative is simple, compelling, and unintrusive. This was a puzzle platformer browser game that was light on the puzzles, platforming, and gaming. It was, however, very definitely in a browser.

    • Merve says:

      It wasn’t the greatest browser game ever, but I kind of enjoyed it. I was impressed at how much they managed to do with just 4 buttons. Switch the spacebar with the down key and you have a one-hand game.

  7. bunnyvision says:

    OK let me sum this game up so that nobody has to play it

    a) Press the bridge-restore button every time there isn’t a bridge
    b) Press the enemy-go-away button every time there is an enemy
    c) uhhh i guess keep playing til it’s over