Clockwork Tales: Of Glass And Ink - A Short Pause Review: A Cut Below The Rest
Title: Clockwork Tales: Of Glass And Ink
Developer: Artifex Mundi
Platforms: Xbox One (Reviewed)/PC
Point-and-click adventure games have not always been my forte. In fact, up until I experienced Grim Fandango Remastered early last year, I flat out ignored them for no good reason. However, as my gaming tastes have changed — alongside my desire to have more story-driven experiences — I have become quite taken with this genre of games. Nothing beats an excellent adventure game with a great story and enjoyable puzzles to solve. Unfortunately, I don’t consider Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink to be an excellent addition to the adventure genre.
Clockwork Tales is a steampunk point-and-click adventure game that puts players in the shoes of Evangeline Glass, a woman who comes into town to aid scientist Dr. Ambrose Ink in his quest to track down the origin of a series of mysterious tremors that are destroying the world as we know it! Toss in a generic evil mastermind that must be stopped at all costs and, well, you get the point. Players are tasked with solving lots of puzzles as they progress through key moments in the story. These puzzles range from old adventure game staples like wiring electrical currents, to more interesting and puzzling affairs like having to unlock a lock with a dozen or so holes, each of which you can only pass through once in order to solve the challenge (this one was pretty cool). The puzzle requiring you to mix up your own gun powder was also a highlight. I enjoyed the challenge of most of the game’s brain teasers, but there were definitely a few that I was tempted to hit the skip button on. Each area’s main objectives tend to be a little more drawn out, and these will likely be the puzzles that players remember most as the credits start to roll.
Story beats in the interim are a letdown. There are no dialogue options presented to the player, and the voice acting leaves a lot to be desired. Characters look incredibly awkward when speaking, and the story cutscenes are quick and to the point. Sadly, despite the game’s awesome steampunk setting, the story doesn't do anything off-the-beaten-path as Ink awkwardly delivers exposition, Glass does the dirty work, and the ending ham-fistedly appears five and a half hours later.
As mentioned above, this is a point-and-click game, so expect to do tons of that! Players will scan the area for clues and the items needed to progress through the various environments Glass finds herself in. Aiding her in her quest to pick up things is a mechanical bird named Matthew. Arguably one of the coolest features in the game, I was bummed to see how seldom he was used. While there are at least one or two spots in each chapter that require Matthew’s aerial prowess to knock things down or fetch items for Evangeline, I still feel like he could have been utilized more often throughout their adventures.
The many environments on display in Clockwork Tales are one of the game’s few strong suits. From the tavern where your adventure beings, to a zeppelin and the castle you have to explore to save the world, it is clear that each area was meticulously crafted to dazzle the player as they search for the secrets hidden within. The amount of detail is impressive, and it definitely keeps players immersed in the game’s beautifully chaotic world.
Clockwork Tales is a unique looking game that, sadly, does very little to distinguish itself from its contemporaries. Its gorgeous steampunk setting is fun to comb for clues and items, but the game is ultimately hampered by shallow characters, poor voice acting, and generic story beats. Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink just doesn't take full advantage of its setting or take any risks in gameplay to make it a must-play title for gamers.
Frankie loves pizza, gaming, and controversial opinions. Follow his gaming adventures on Twitter @Vyprstryke.
- Wonderfully detailed environments
- Some uniquely cool puzzles...
- ...but lots of overly familiar and dull ones
- Terrible voice acting
- Generic story beats
- Poor character development