Clockwork PC Preview

A 2D side scrolling game and an interesting one. A heavy industrial theme, dare I say it even touching on the steampunk, it was something I was happy to play for quite a while. There’s something about this I just can’t place, other than good fun and a good challenge.

Gameplay

When I started playing this, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleased to find I had to really put some thought into the puzzles. Rather than it being a simple case of getting to the switch and ultimately the level exit, it was a case of planning the order of switches. How many puzzles are solved involve reflections, echoes of your character, Atto, performing actions. Some of the time it’s turning a wheel to stop a gas vent, others it’s running a treadmill to open a barrier. Some of the time it’s a simple switch, right out in the open that you need to pull.

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Perhaps the puzzle I solved that brought me the most joy involved four of these echoes. I had to have two echoes running on treadmills, while one other dropped down to hit a switch to allow me to progress to the end of the level. While this was the only problem in the level, it was more than enough. Each level has a number of tasks, while not many, some require very specific timing and order of operations. This is the real challenge to this game is not finding the switches, but the order in which the switches must be pulled.

To be unkind, you could say this reflection is the gimmick of this game. That would be very unfair. As you start to teleport yourself back and start planning to combine your actions, it’s the reason I feel these levels are so short. These check points, in effect, mean when you fail, you don’t fall back too far and need to go through a very precise set of puzzles to advance. Another good feature of the game.

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The story follows Atto and his mysterious companion in Milli. Milli has only awoken recently, though for the last four hundred years has been living in his clock. She knows she needs to go somewhere, but from what I’ve been able to explore, not why or how. This has lead you in the direction of a generator, one that powers the city of Watchtower and the airships as well. A sight that is more rumour and anything else.

Though I’ve not reached it yet, there’s a boss encounter upcoming. Something I wish I was able to experience, but haven’t been lucky enough to reach it yet. I wonder how these go and what they will entail. When I do, I’ll gladly update this. While minor, I did have a few crashes when I was playing this. I only ever had one crash to desktop and that hasn’t repeated itself yet.

Audio and Visuals

My first and only major complaint with this game is the character voices. I appreciate the sound, the reason behind, but it still grates. It always will grate. That I don’t think will change as I progress through the game. In saying that, I was pretty happy with the sound quality on a whole. It helps build that heavy industry feel. This Victorian era heavy industry feel, it’s something I’ve not seen in a long time, if ever.

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For the rest of it, I have to go back to this theme of heavy industry, metal, generators, steam and diesel. This is one the reasons I like the game. It helps build the feel of the world. Not only does it do that, it reinforces that. The time elements, Milli, being in different colours helps set them apart. When you go by one of the towers you warp back from it stands out. It’s an obvious cue and has to be part of your plan to solve this coming puzzle.  

Multiplayer

This is single player only and needs no multiplayer features. Perhaps, down the line a level creator feature could be interesting, however, it’s far from needed.

Overall

Short levels, but long chapters, a unique visual and style all make this a good little idea. However, I have to say that I did definitely enjoy this. The puzzles were not that difficult, most I was able to work after my second or third pass through an area. They’re not particularly complex, but they are more than challenging enough. The puzzles are quite interesting too, requiring simultaneous actions and a very, very good plan.

Written by

Leon Peters-Malone

Old hat gamer who’s start goes back to the Sega MegaDrive and still remembers seeing the Genesis on store shelves. Mainly a strategy gamer, I dabble in most other genres. There’s a long list of stand out titles I want to see come back, Ground Control, Homeworld, MechCommander, a proper send off to the Tiberium world of Westwood’s creation. Also very partial to most things set in space, especially at the fleet side of things. Current gaming gear include the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, PS3 and PC.

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