First Things First

by J. Robinson Wheeler profile

Time Travel
2001

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Reviews and Ratings

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Number of Ratings: 19
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1-19 of 19


- Pinstripe (Chicago, Illinois), February 27, 2021

- Spike, June 12, 2019

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
The IF time-travel game that most resembles Day of the Tentacle, May 31, 2019
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

It continues to surprise me that apparently so relatively few people have played First Things First. It seemingly has everything most players want: a good writer and coder (Wheeler), a fun premise (time travel mechanics), and lots of old-school (but fair) puzzles. It's not overly long or overly cruel. It even starts out like Curses! with some putzing around the house. It's about the most perfect game I've ever played.

The time travel mechanic is just lovely. You get to move between five different time periods over a fifty year period and tinker with things in each time period and see the ripple effects. Puzzles involve messing around with nature and seeing what happens, messing with your house and seeing what happens, messing with the bank and seeing what happens, and finally messing with people and seeing what happens.

There are two separate endings to your messing with the universe. The first one is more of a neutral ending and I was able to complete this path without a walkthrough and I'm a walkthrough kind of guy. The second one is much tougher and has more walking dead situations, but also much more rewarding. And if you just save on the regular, you should never have to replay too many portions as long as you keep going through the time machine and checking your work.

A must-play for those who enjoyed A Mind Forever Voyaging but wanted more agency, or for those who enjoyed LucasArts' Day of the Tentacle but wanted a more serious plot, or for those who just like any time travel game they can get their hands on.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Explore a mid-size map over 5 decades. Well-crafted, great puzzles, May 9, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

First Things First was nominated for an XYZZY award for Best Game, and won Best Puzzles, among others.

In this game that starts out very slowly, you quickly progress to an interesting situation similar to A Mind Forever Voyaging or Lost New York, where you can investigate a mid-size map over 50 years using a time machine. Your actions in certain time periods strongly affect the future in interesting ways.

This is definitely the best long-form time travel I have played, as I felt Lost New York (which explores New York over a century or two) and Time: All Things Come to an End (which explores many epochs in a linear fashion) had relatively unfair puzzles.

IFDB has version 3.0, but the walkthrough is for 1.1, so it didn't work in places. I am a walkthrough junkie, so it was hard for me to beat it, but I was able to guess from the walkthrough what I should try next, and eventually worked my way through it.

The game has good characters, beautiful settings, and a bit of a confused plot, which is natural given the main gameplay mechanic.

For simulation fans, it has an interesting money/bank account/investment system.

Strongly recommended for everyone. (Note: the first area seems incredibly boring, but it gets better and better. I started to like the game as soon as I made it into (Spoiler - click to show)the garage.)


- yaronra, July 16, 2018

- Denk, August 1, 2017

- PVince81 (Germany), April 23, 2016

- E. W. B., February 24, 2016

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), July 18, 2015

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent game, January 11, 2015

Good story, good puzzles, good implementation of verbs, hints are given when appropriate.
Actually, I only have a very small criticism to make: in at least two situations, we can get definitely stuck without knowing it. The first case is when trying to take (Spoiler - click to show)the miracle-grow jugs in the worksheet one by one, then the game only says "you should have done this when you had the chance", but lets you continue, which is ambiguous. More generally, one object is essential to the game, and should not be disposed off too early in the game, which is not very clear at first ((Spoiler - click to show)the wheelbarrow). The second case is when (Spoiler - click to show)you jump into the window without anticipating on how to get out after that. I think it would have been nice if the game had said something like "you should have thought of this before doing that, now you seem to be stuck".


- Sobol (Russia), December 28, 2014

- E.K., March 11, 2014

- Lorxus, March 8, 2014

- kala (Finland), November 16, 2013

- MonochromeMolly, November 1, 2011

- Levi Boyles, August 28, 2011

- Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle), February 15, 2010

- bolucpap, March 18, 2008

- J. Robinson Wheeler (Austin, TX), March 17, 2008


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