Force of nature, it doesn't just mean something powerful, what it means is that it's beyond control. When Max first dreams of the storm, it's a warning of what is to come.
The time travel is a security blanket, the insecure teen's dream, the ability to go back and not say something stupid. The only choice in the game that actually matters is saving Chloe or not.
You know, the point where you first discover Max has powers.
Some things are not a game.
And that is all the time travel is, the game, the hook of playing, savescumming made a feature, if you will.
Not that Max isn't rewinding, the story of the game isn't a dream, we've got all sorts of supernatural symbols throughout.
First an influence from the obvious, Twin Peaks. A fetishism of sort, clothes giving power, hiding behind an object for fear of a real change in yourself. At one point is the series mild mannered Donna ends up with Laura Palmer's sunglasses, and starts acting, differently...
Following suit, Max starts acting bolder once she dresses like Rachel.
Culminating in the most egotistical change...
Attempting to alter the past, wanting to make things better, and yet nothing much changes at all. Max is still her own worst enemy and Chloe is still alone and near death. You can't ignore problems by pretending they don't exist.
Next we have the animals, though they're never what they seem.
The doe, rather than being Max's power animal, is the spirit of Rachel Amber. The first thing it does is lead Max to safety in a nightmare. Next it leads us to Rachel's grave. Still spectral when it again leads us to safety in the Dark Room, it isn't until the good ending you see it manifest.
Life can finally move on.
As for the butterfly? Simple, it represents death.
The only other time it appears in the game, is the bad ending.
The key here is in the soundtrack, Foals' Spanish Sahara, other than sounding downtrodden, repeats the following:
Forget the horror here
Forget the horror here
Leave it all down here
It's future rust and it's future dustI'm the fury in your head
I'm the fury in your bed
I'm the ghost in the back of your head
This ending is worse than the alternate timeline, Chloe dies feeling alone and unloved, unaware of the week spent with Max.
And worse still it proves Nathan right.
The Chloe that Max misses, exists as only a ghost, a world that never was. Regrets.
The true ending of the game plays Syd Matters' Obstacles for the second time, coming full circle from the first day with Chloe.
Let's say sunshine for everyone, but as far I, can remember
We've been migratory animals, leaving under, changing weather
Someday, we will foresee obstacles, through the blizzard....
Today, we will sell our uniform, and leave together...
The spirit animals, totems, conspiracies, and chaos theories were red herrings, they have as much power as you assign them in real life.
You finally take an action or get haunted by what could've been.
The main theme of the game is is Max growing up, learning to not be afraid of failure, making her life better, you know, that large genre typically called "coming of age"
For me there never was a choice, bae before bay, always.