There’s at all times numerous pleasure that comes with discovering an indie sport that does one thing bizarre and totally different. Video games like Undertale and Axiom Verge remind us that pondering exterior the field could make for hours of enjoyment. Nonetheless, not all video games nail that unusual and astonishing creativity, maybe missing the event an thought so deserved and making do with ‘ok’. Clockwork is, sadly, one of many indies that didn’t fairly make the minimize, harbouring some good concepts contained in the clunkiness of its execution.
You play as Atto, a mechanical boy with a penchant for fixing issues. Sooner or later, his watch wakes up and begins speaking to him, calling herself Milli, and grants him the outstanding skill to time journey. Now, I’d like to let you know extra about what occurs within the sport or why we’re pulling all these levers, however I don’t have the rattling foggiest thought what’s occurring on this sport. There’s numerous dialogue however no substance or clarification, so the story seems like filler earlier than the following puzzle regardless that it retains getting in the way in which. Lack of motivation apart, the sport has some intriguing concepts, like puzzles primarily based round time journey.
Because the identify would have you ever consider, Clockwork is all about ensuring all of the items of the puzzle work collectively. To that finish, you have got the power to journey again to some extent in time and affect what occurs sooner or later. Your earlier selves will set off units as you run by the newly opened doorway, whereas your different earlier iterations cope with the robotic mosquito out to kill you. It’s like Limbo and Braid had a lovechild, however, uh, the kid isn’t fairly what you’d hoped for. The potential for attention-grabbing puzzles is drool-inducing, however more often than not you’ll be frothing on the mouth in frustration.
Whereas the core thought fueling Clockwork is sound, its execution is extra Movado than Rolex. The controls are considerably limp, bordering on the clunkier finish of the spectrum, and have been usually the primary motive I couldn’t get pleasure from a given degree. It’s particularly infuriating whenever you already know the answer however can’t execute it as a result of the controls get in the way in which. It is advisable to leap to the next degree, however Atto’s floatier than a bacterial an infection, which doesn’t assist with the precision required to drag off the leap. He’s gradual as all hell too, and Milli’s no Sonic the Hedgehog, so that you’ll spend most of your time ready for the sport to match your tempo.
For a sport so centered on time journey, there’s a hell of numerous ready. You’ll be ready on previous selves to do what you want, ready on enemies, ready on lifts, every little thing simply strikes so slowly. Milli will help out by exiting the watch and floating round, however she controls worse than Atto and strikes at a torpid tempo. The end result is a continuing annoyance on the sport to not be quicker, as a result of I do know what must be finished, I simply want to attend for every little thing else to catch up. In fact, the sport doesn’t make it straightforward to set any tempo as a result of the digicam is determining how vital your private house is to you.
One of many key issues puzzle video games need to nail is what you possibly can see at any given time, however Clockwork misses the mark. The digicam is at all times manner too shut, so that you’ll need to incite Milli’s assist to see something across the degree, together with what pulling a specific lever did. Not seeing an instantaneous response to stepping on a stress plate isn’t unhealthy, however I shouldn’t need to spend 10+ seconds floating as Milli to determine what I simply activated. This hinders your skill to attach the dots nearly as a lot because it takes away from the in any other case beautiful visuals.
The sport could depart a lot to be desired, however the artwork of the sport is nothing in need of wondrous. Ranges are one among three potential themes, every with their very own look and enemy variants. The sport will generally (i.e., not often) zoom out to disclose a mechanical vista or run down slum, and it’s evident the place probably the most effort has gone. Nonetheless, as a lot as the sport is gorgeous to have a look at, this model makes it troublesome to determine the place something is.
As nice as it’s to see these hand-drawn characters in movement, the foreground tends to mix in just a little too properly into the surroundings. Levers and ladders usually are not clearly interactable, and generally making them out in opposition to the backdrop is a puzzle in of itself. The lighting generally makes it nearly unattainable to see the place platforms begin or finish, particularly in Poisonville’s darkish areas. Nonetheless, none of this compares to the a part of the sport that obtained to me probably the most.
The bugs. I get that this isn’t one other enormous firm’s product, however there comes the purpose the place it’s important to query how and why the sport was launched on this state. Through the first boss battle, I might climb down a ladder and die instantly. A field would fall onto a transferring carry however keep in the identical spot, ultimately falling into the infinite void as a result of friction is probabilistic now. The worst one was when my skill to activate time portals, the belongings you use to leap again in time, simply stopped working. It’s this lack of polish and a spotlight to seemingly minor particulars that convey the sport down, and due to that, it’s simply not very pleasant to play.
There’s numerous potential in Clockwork’s mechanics, but it surely’s introduced down by clunky execution and lack of polish. Some good concepts are floating round within the sport, however so far as playability is anxious, you’re higher off discovering one other sport to scratch your temporal itch. It’s a reminder that not all indie video games are instantly good due to their impartial standing regardless of flaunting attention-grabbing ideas. Ah properly, there’s at all times the following sport to strive one thing totally different.