I’ve always been a fan of point and click games. Monkey Island, Broken Sword, Grim Fandango. My childhood was filled with such times, and back then chances are I wandered around aimlessly without knowing what to do.
Hidden object Puzzles were always fun too. I remember a book called Puzzle Island I had which was filled with really hard hidden object games to play…..to this day, it is still one of my favourite books. I’d honestly love more to find a copy of that again, for my kids if not anything else.
So when offered the chance to play a game that was half point and click, half hidden object, I jumped at the chance. But how was it?
Clockwork Tales starts promisingly with drama in the village of Hochwald. Professor Ink, your mentor sends you, an intelligence agent to investigate. Upon arrival in the village you are tasked with meeting Ink in the local inn for your brief. This is where the point of click elements start, with a simple puzzle. Ink drops his key beneath the floorboards, and you must then find something to retrieve them. Cue the ‘old school’ – use tweezers on floorboards. The games story is fairly loose, involving German (i think) soldiers, Titans and your mechanical bird companion, Matthew.
Point and click games usually fall into one of two categories. Logical or illogical. The puzzles will either make perfect sense, or be so far fetched no sane person would ever think to try such a weird combination. Clockwork Tales ticks both boxes. Some puzzles are well thought out, making a lot of sense, and when you find that iron bar you instantly know that it should go into the shovel head. The problem with Clockwork Tales though, is later in the game the puzzles really start to drift into the realm of tedious. Lots of backtracking ensues, and taking your hints from in game sketches can sometimes be troublesome. For instance, working out you need to find certain minerals to use in crafting recipes all from a sketch, was a bit much. Overall though, the logic is there, and it fits.
But Clockwork Tales has more than one tune to play, as the game features plenty of mini game puzzles. These were all really fun and well thought out, and filled with variety. No puzzle was the same as the next, and I genuinely enjoyed my time with each one. They ranged from turning pipes to make a path for your key, or arranging wires to form certain shapes to make an electrical connection. None of the puzzles were too hard, and all could be passed with a little bit of thought.
The last element to Clockwork Tales is the hidden object puzzle. For those unfamiliar with the genre, you are presented with a picture filled with items and random junk. Think of a word search, but with pictures. At the bottom of your screen is a list of items, and you must then locate each item within the picture. Just like the mini games these are great fun and I relished trying to spot ever item. Every now and then you’ll be missing one certain object, only to find it staring you straight in the face. For those who do struggle however, the game features a hint system that works on a timer cool down. If you get stuck for a while, the option is present for you to skip the entire puzzle.
The three genres of game all fit together nicely. The main game is point and click, with certain objects within the game activating one of the other two modes. You’ll open a chest for instance, and before you can get the item inside you will need to finish a HoP that has just started up. The fact it all ties together so seamlessly is a big plus, as it never makes it feel like separate games. It all flows together well, so you don’t lose the immersive experience.
One of my favorite parts of the game was the collectives (yes, you read that right). Every scene has a single collectible, which is a little steambug. This bug will be located somewhere on the screen and you simply have to click it to collect it. It’s a play on the hidden object game whilst playing the point and click section. Whilst the bugs are usually easy to find, some blend in exceptionally well and took me a bit to find.
The game features two difficulty options with the expert mode removing certain features (highlighting puzzles) and increasing hint cool down time. Apart from these little differences, the game isn’t much different on either difficulty level.
Graphically the game is pleasant on the eye but the animated style is not groundbreaking. It suits the steampunk theme the game was going for, but the limited movement means you are always looking at a static backdrop.
The game does have some drawbacks. You control your character through a first person viewpoint and your character has no movement. To change locations or look at items you just hover and click. There is no character movement or real interaction going on, and when you think that Point and Click games were doing this twenty years ago it makes you wonder why it wasn’t included.
For achievement hunters, the game is a breeze. The 1000g took me around 4-5 hours without using any guides (but occasionally the in game hint feature). The achievements vary from finding all steam bugs, interacting with all people in a certain location and completing the game on expert.
Overall, The Clockwork Tales does an admirable job of being a pleasant point and click title,using the mini games and hidden objects to break the monotony and frustration. Based on the price point, for fans of the genre this one is worth a play.
Lavindathar’s score: Wait for sale unless you love the genre or easy gamerscore.
Written by Lavindathar
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