As the young Sebastian, gamers take the role of the son of a brilliant scientist who has discovered a means to travel through time. Time travel has already taken place in this reality, however, and Sebatian's first mission is to use his father's discovery to return to the past and destroy an earlier time machine, which upset the balance of power in a past war and led to dangerous realities in their present. Just as Sebastian enters the machine to travel back to the past, he watches helplessly as his father is kidnapped and taken prisoner.
Hands of Time features an overhead view and six levels, each of which is comprised of a small overworld with various objectives. Much of the game requires completing item-swapping sequences in order to progress, while dealing with enemy soldiers along the way. You have a small pistol with infinite ammo. You can collect better weapons, though their ammo is limited. There are no difficulty levels and no multiplayer; you can jump to any of the six levels by use of a password system.