Lair of the Clockwork God (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 11.02.2021

Review for Lair of the Clockwork God on Nintendo Switch

Throughout time there have been great comedy duos. Sometimes it is a matter of taking a little bit of chocolate and mixing it up with a wad of peanut butter to make a wonderful mixture. A Sam for every Max, a Beavis for a Butt-head, and Ren for a Stimpy; and now Size Five Games has cemented itself as a comedic genius with Lair of the Clockwork God.

Ben and Dan are the duality of man. One is full of heart and intuition, while the other is logic and reason. When they are separate, they are incomplete. Like a yin and yang, they form a unit and rely on each other. Ben is like Spock; rigid and logical. Playing as him is structured like a '90s point-and-click adventure. Ben refuses to jump and opts out of any action-platforming. He is only collects items, combines them, puts them into stuff and examines points of interest. Dan is like Captain Kirk. He acts on instinct and feeling. While both Ben and Dan are game designers, (and the actual designers of Lair of the Clockwork God), Dan has a penchant for indie style, post-modern platformers. He has even altered his art style to fit the trends of what most indie game designers strive for; bright red nose and all. He will be hopping, bopping and double-jumping his way through levels, but he will still need to rely on Ben to help him solve puzzles.

Screenshot for Lair of the Clockwork God on Nintendo Switch

Lair of the Clockwork God is a very creative, and extremely hilarious adventure game. Its pacing is pitch-perfect and has some of the sharpest wit written in a game from this generation. The banter between Ben and Dan feels very authentic and real, as if the characters have known each other for years... which is actually the case, being how they are the authors of this.

Typically, when comedy games eschew sincerity for the sake of a joke, the punchline is rarely worth it. Lair of the Clockwork God's humour is so on point and appropriate, that the gags are critical to the experience. The writers are also unafraid of offending anyone, and actually show a bit of backbone with some of the harsh language. The heroes/developers constantly ignore the fourth-wall, and cast a long reaching shade at the games industry as a whole - mocking the cynical approach of indie design that has become formulaic, and also at the frustrating aspects of retro games at the same time.

Screenshot for Lair of the Clockwork God on Nintendo Switch

Each level will require both boys working together, with the player alternating control between the both of them. Functionally, Ben is extremely basic due to the simple adventure game rules he abides by... for better and for worse. The iffy part of the game is controlling Dan whose gameplay mechanics are rough around the edges. The frame rate is not ideal in Lair of the Clockwork God. This makes decreases the fun of platforming, as Dan feels imprecise and makes the presentation look choppy. The sequences when Dan carries Ben can get especially erratic, since these moments are when the most action on screen happens.

Screenshot for Lair of the Clockwork God on Nintendo Switch

The level and puzzle design often requires some lateral thinking, and sometimes demand a little leap of logic. This is usually done for comedic effect, and how potent it is depends on the user. Anyone who is familiar with '90s era adventure games will undoubtedly be in on the joke of how absurd some of the solutions can be in Lair of the Clockwork God. Getting stuck rarely lasts, so long as the player is willing to exhaust all options. It is not the most graceful design, but the pay-off is usually a joke that will emphasize the absurdity of the puzzle.

The visuals have a chunky pixel art style with very distinctive character designs. The pronounced silhouettes of the protagonists are especially strong here, and make them very defined in every environment. The animations are adequate and are just competent enough to get by. The music is forgettable, and the lack of any kind of stylish soundtrack is disappointing.

Screenshot for Lair of the Clockwork God on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Fans of adventure games will get a big laugh out of Lair of the Clockwork God. Sadly, the platforming half of the experience is mediocre and unpolished. The experiment of Size Five Games is mostly a success with managing to find a careful balance of platforming and puzzles, but the team needed to refine the experience with tighter quality control. The writing and humour elevate this from being average, to being worth a look towards anyone who enjoys the adventure genre.

Developer

Ant Workshop

Publisher

Size Five Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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