By Mento 1 Comments
27/05/12 - Game #23
The source: The Indie Clever Pack. Not to be confused with the Indie Brain Pack. I guess a clever brain would know the difference?
The pre-amble: A time travel accident strands Doc Clock and his acerbic backpack companion in a future filled with homicidal robots based on his prototypes. Get him back to the present, either with or without the Grey's Almanac, using a combination of puzzle-solving and basic platforming, combining items to create inventions and vehicles to get past obstacles Doc's limited physical prowess cannot. Find the toasted sandwiches, recover the time machine parts and defeat that do-gooder Spider-Man once and for all!
The playthrough: This is an innovative mix of a platformer and those old The Incredible Machine games, with a lot of odd mechanics kind of shoehorned in to make a product that's as cheerfully disjointed and cobbled-together as the inventions it features. It's charming in a way, like a group of talented whippersnapper developers came across a physics engine and tried to see how imaginatively they could break it by piling on as many gameplay concepts as possible. It actually reminds me a little of the makeshift fun of Scribblenauts, where'd you try all sorts of odd combinations to achieve an objective.
That said, it's kind of a chore to play. What the game demands of you and what is actually possible aren't always congruent and there's a hell of a lot of picking something up, positioning it correctly, dropping it where it's needed and then picking it back up again once you're done. It's fine when it's just a plank or two for crossing pits, but when it's a five-part vehicle that needs dissembling (if the game doesn't dissemble it for you after a crash) and reassembling several times per stage it becomes a handful. Couple with that the inescapable minor bugs and defects of an Indie game's engine and... well, chore is the word I believe I used.
It's not a bad game, I'll hasten to clarify. It looks primitive as hell, but that's as charming as it is off-putting. The banter between Doc and his sarcastic, self-serving Bender-like companion-slash-storage is occasionally amusing (the first instance of it I saw was a very Rorie "This is X" "You're an X" set-up, which kind of set the standard). The puzzle-platforming is straightforward enough, with a handy time-rewind for mistakes, though getting everything to work properly is another matter. It's just... I have a whole stack of other games sitting nearby. I don't really know if I want to spend my Sunday telling a bunch of stubborn components to sit down and listen.
The verdict: Eh.