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Lair Of The Clockwork God

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 25 - 2020

Ben and Dan are back, along with a mix of genres that is guaranteed to bring a smile.

 
Slowly dropping across all popular platforms through the course of this year, Size Five Games’ Lair of the Clockwork God finally made an appearance on PlayStation 4 just a couple of weeks ago. Following plentiful awards and nominations, Can the genre mixing game follow it’s own trend and bring joy to both platforming fans and point and click adventurers on the Sony console?

 


 
Size Five Games, behind such indie hits as Ben There, Dan That! and Time Gentlemen, Please! bring back their much loved heroes Ben and Dan to save the world from all manner of apocalypses in Lair of the Clockwork God. While fans of the Ben and Dan games will be pleased to see the two idiots return, Clockwork God is very much its own game and players will not miss out on anything by not having played those previous titles, although I am sure the developers would appreciate it if they did. It does help that Clockwork God is a slightly different game from those previous two in the series, thanks largely to the fact that Dan has rejected the point and click origins of the duo in exchange for the much more modern joy of indie platforming titles.

 
If that doesn’t suggest it, let me be clear. Lair of the Clockwork God is a very self-aware game that constantly pokes fun at both the point and click and platforming genre. This is one of the games’ outstanding features, and the laughs just keep on coming. It is always risky to mock the genre that the game belongs to, but there is an obvious love for both of the genres on show here, and so it all works nicely. The game doesn’t only make fun of these two gaming genres, but it happily drops one liners and jokes about all manner of things throughout, and is genuinely funny without trying too hard.

 
But what is going on? Well, long and short is that there are a bunch of apocalypses and it is down to Ben and Dan to save the world by collecting a bunch of objects. This would be much simpler if the pair could agree on which type of game they wanted to be in. Unfortunately, while Ben remains firmly in the past and clings to the rules of the point and click adventure, Dan is now all about platforming rules.

 


 
In terms of gameplay, this means a mash up of the two genres. Ben can’t leave his point and click origins behind, and so for the player this means slowly wandering around the different environments, looking for clues and collecting items in his handy inventory. These items, in keeping with tradition, will need to be combined to offer solutions to problems, often in the most obscure way. To be honest, there is little by way of logic here and players will really need to think outside of the box, or forget there is a box altogether, in order to work out the combinations. Thankfully, there is plenty of guidance on the internet for those who are struggling. When it comes down to movement, Ben is slow and even something as simple as a ledge will bring Ben to a halt. But that is where Dan comes in.

 
Dan can’t be doing with all of that slow moving, staying on the ground and collecting stuff. For him, this is all about the 2D platforming joy. Dan can run, jump and generally zip around the worlds with a remarkable sense of speed. The platforming is varied and fun, and enough to get the adrenaline pumping after the slower Ben sections, and ranges in difficulty from fairly simple to downright fiendish.

 
It takes some getting used to as there is quite a disconnect between the two characters and how they control. Coming down from a heart-pounding platforming section to slowly walk around and examine stuff can be quite jarring. It soon becomes part of the whole though and the developers have done a great job of combining the two very different genres into something quite unique. While the platforming is spot on, the point and click mechanics do feel a little off, but that is no surprise for a genre that grew up on the PC. It all works, it just doesn’t feel natural.

 
Visually, Lair of the Clockwork God hits the nail on the head with its retro stylings. It is an old-school look that fits so well with the general feel of the game, and the humour that can be found throughout follows into the visuals as well, ensuring there is always something fun to see.

 


 
Successfully combining two genres, and even finding clever ways to cross them over at times, Lair of the Clockwork God is a game that should please both point and click and platforming fans. However, the humour that runs throughout makes it a game that should be tried by anyone with a funny bone. It’s very silly, and surprisingly long. For laughs, jumping or collecting stuff, Lair of the Clockwork God is worth checking out.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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