Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink
Gameplay 7
Graphics 8
Sound 7

Clockwork Tales lacks a compelling plot, but makes up for it with a unique steam-punk setting and some lovely hand-drawn visuals. It also veers a little too close to being short and easy for our taste, but it is certainly entertaining while it lasts. Anyone looking for a change of pace from all the supernatural themed hidden object games will definitely enjoy this game. Clockwork Tales is also very newcomers friendly, so if you are unfamiliar with the genre, it is a great place to start.

Gameplay: A nice gentle introduction to the genre with relatively easy puzzles and mini-games.

Graphics: The same high quality hand-drawn artwork that we have come to expect from Artifex Mundi.

Sound: The voice acting is decent enough and the music is rather good

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Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink

Developer: Artifex Mundi | Publisher: Artifex Mundi | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Adventure / Casual | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When strange earthquakes start to pose a serious threat to the world, it prompts Dr. Ambrose Ink to investigate. The good doctor eventually tracks down their source to the town of Hochwald, high in the mountains. Since the town is near the mysterious castle of the Barber family, home to the General Engineer of Gottland, Ink requests the help of his friend, agent Evangeline Glass. However, shortly after arriving in Hochwald, Ink is kidnapped by an enormous robot. With only a mechanical raven, named Matthew, as companion, you must rescue Dr. Ink and thwart the nefarious plans of the General Engineer before it is too late.

With so many hidden object games favoring supernatural settings, it is refreshing to play a title with a unique steampunk setting. From the snowy streets of Hochwald to the dark corners of the Barber castle, the game fully embraces the steampunk aesthetic. Each one of the locations you explore are hand drawn, with a beautiful painted style that is packed with detail. Although there aren’t a lot of animations the amount of detail in each scene helps to bring them to life.

While the visuals look great, the story could have been a little better. The steampunk universe in which the game is set has a lot of potential, which feels like it is somewhat squandered on a plot involving a mad engineer causing earthquakes. After completing the main game there is also a bonus chapter, which takes place one week before the arrival of agent Glass. However, it re-uses most of the locations of the main game and doesn’t really do much to flesh out the plot. The fact that the story feels a little anemic is probably due to the fact that the game can be completed in less than four hours. Thanks to the fast travel system, it means that no time is wasted on backtracking, but players expecting a little more from their stories than thinly veiled excuses for Nazi-esque villains and dodgy accents will probably walk away disappointed.

Although the story isn’t great and, to be fair, very few hidden object games have storylines that rises above the usual cliches, it is the gameplay that counts. It is here that Clockwork Tales impresses with a very accessible style. None of the puzzles or mini games are tedious, which is great for newcomers or anyone who don’t like getting stuck on obtuse challenges.

Unfortunately, this also means that veteran players will probably breeze through the puzzles and hidden object scenes with ease. Interestingly enough, Clockwork Tales actually leans more towards the point & click adventure style of playing, at least for the first half of the game. Gradually more hidden object scenes as well as fragmented object scenes also start to make an appearance, but there are no alternative for these, as in other Artifex Mundi titles. After repairing your mechanical raven companion it can be used to retrieve items that are out of your reach, but this happens so infrequently that we actually forgot about Matthew a few times.

In addition to the bonus chapter, players can also unlock concept art, wallpapers and the soundtrack of the game while playing. Speaking of the soundtrack, Clockwork Tales features some nice mellow tunes, that never annoy or become obtrusive. The voice acting quality is also fairly good, apart from the dodgy accents used by the villains. Players looking to pad out the experience a little more can hunt down all the “hidden” steambugs roaming around the scenes, but even these are obvious enough that it is hard to miss them. In fact, completing the game on “Expert” mode, which is really not that difficult, should enable you to unlock every single Steam achievement in one run. For players who care more about having a stress free and fun experience, there is a build-in hint system as well as the ability to skip puzzles, but abusing these will make an already short game even shorter, so use them with care.

While Clockwork Tales isn’t going to win any awards for its story, it remains an entertaining experience set in a unique steampunk universe. It doesn’t quite make the most of its setting, but it still makes for a nice change of pace from all the paranormal and supernatural stuff. Newcomers will probably enjoy this title the most as it is fairly light on challenges. We would have loved to see a more engaging storyline as well as a longer playtime, but what is on offer isn’t too bad for the asking price.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
    • Processor: 2 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • OS: 10.6.8
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • OS: 10.6.8
    • Processor: 2 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (32/64bit)
    • Processor: 1.5 GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (32/64bit)
    • Processor: 2 GHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
    • Storage: 1 GB available space

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