I Have One Day
Welcome to the second installment of ‘Back to the Retro’! While Marty McFly’s change to the timestream caused Biff to become fabulously wealthy, he may have gotten lucky. In I Have 1 Day the entire kingdom turns into frogs. Probably worse, but then again, Biff is a pretty big jerk so turning into an amphibian might not be such a bad alternative.
I Have One Day is a genius little adventure game by Cellar Door Games. Waking up in a cell with no memory of what happened, you have but 24 hours to escape, solve the mystery, and save the kingdom. You may only have 1 day, but it will be a hard day’s night thanks to multiple solutions and outcomes wrapped up in an innovative time rewinding mechanic.
The game begins among familiar tropes, waking up in a cell with no idea what happened. However, here you aren’t invited to a mysterious island full of dark elves or pardoned by Patrick Stewart, and must find a way to escape on your own. Right from the beginning I Have One Day takes a page from the Hero’s Quest/Quest for Glory (or more recent Heroine’s Quest) book, allowing multiple solutions to puzzles. There is more than one way to get out of the cell, in fact you can even just literally wait it out (facilitated by a wait button thankfully). From there the game continues to give you freedom in how to go about your actions. If you want to leave your prison garb on and wander right past the guards, be my guest! These are sometimes pointless, funny diversions evoking the feel of the earlier Space Quest’s overly enthusiastic death scenes, but sometimes they hint at a broader scope of actions and outcomes.
As mentioned before once again time plays an important role in this game. The kingdom will be doomed by the end of the day, and travelling to and from locations will consume this precious limited time (as will certain actions). Luckily, although you don’t explicitly have the ability to time travel, all your actions per each hour are recorded in your handy logbook and can be revisited at any time. Clicking on any hour will send you back to that point in time, allowing you to essentially undo paths of causality and re-attempt a more optimal solution. Keeping clear of paradoxes, though, you are only allowed to travel in one direction – so once you jump back you’re locked in and must start anew from there. Despite this limitation, it’s still a neat mechanic that encourages exploration while still keeping a sense of consequence to your actions. It’s a shame more games haven’t used innovative ideas like this.
I Have One Day is relatively short and will likely take a couple of hours to figure out. The only potential issue with the game that comes to mind is one particular puzzle in the town square that may frustrate some. Unlike the rest of the game, this puzzle requires a bit of unexpected fourth-wall breakage thinking (hint: the solution is a button in the interface). Thanks to the time rewind function it means you can also quite easily rewind to find the optimal path or explore the various bad endings the game provides.
I Have One Day
Play online: Kongregate