Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag (PC) Review

By Athanasios 07.06.2021

Review for Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag on PC

In Blizzard's The Lost Vikings, the purpose was to guide said trio of warriors out of an alien spaceship, with a single player swapping between them in order to use the unique abilities of each one to overcome the many obstacles this classic puzzle-platformer had. Clan O'Conall and the Crown of the Stag takes a page from these Norse chaps (and a few more from Trine), but with a title that's far more action-packed, and which has a very strong Celtic aroma.

It's always a pleasure to experience a tutorial that doesn't take too long, feels like a chore, or is so boring that you forget whatever was taught within minutes. Players here will be quickly introduced to the three Celtic heroes and their abilities. The swordsman can hit fast, glide with his cape, deflect projectiles; the "brute" of the team is slower, but also stronger, can break shields, as well as barriers; and, finally, the fast and agile ranger can double-jump, roll through gaps, and shoot at foes or buttons from afar with her bow. All three will gain even more skills throughout their adventure, which will aid them against the demons that have been unleashed on their lands. Why are these people out on the woods fighting monsters, though?

Screenshot for Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag on PC

Clan O'Conall offers a nice mythology-esque tale of a demon queen and her attempts to do… well, evil, demon queen stuff, or something. Yes, the story at hand isn't something special, nor something bad. It's… there, basically, and it's well presented, with plenty of animated cut-scenes, which blend the cartoony style of Samurai Jack, with a beautiful Celtic aesthetic. At the end of the day, no one should come here for the plot. This - decently action-packed - platformer is mainly a puzzle-heavy kind of deal, where you are tasked with using the trio's set of skills, swapping between them to overcome all sorts of obstacles, with a nice amount of fighting thrown in as well, which also requires using the right "tool" for the occasion.

The difficulty curve is excellent, with players constantly being fed with new kinds of traps, enemies, and so on, and with the puzzle-platforming sessions slowly becoming more complex than what came before. The bosses are pretty enjoyable as well, especially those who have multiple phases or attacks, but they tend to be a bit more bullet-spongy than they should, something that applies to the simple enemies as well, to be honest, although not to the point that it ruins the fun factor. What does ruin the fun factor a bit, however, is how this, otherwise meaty, five+ hour-long experience, feels like the demo of a much bigger game. It's a bit too conservative, if that makes any sense - afraid to reach its full potential.

Screenshot for Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag on PC

The main problem here, is that the level design is such that the moment you enter an area you already know what needs to be done. Hitting this switch, and then jumping on the timed platform that it activates over there, while avoiding that trap, might be somewhat challenging to pull off at times, but the solution to pretty much every single problem is painfully obvious. As a result, one simply has to go through the motions and do what needs to be done, rarely having to actually stop and think. Don't forget that the puzzle-solving and platforming here isn't a minor, secondary aspect of Clan O'Conall - that would be the intermission-like fights, which can often pose a much better challenge.

Screenshot for Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag on PC

…And that's the thing with HitGrab's creation. It's technically sound, visually pleasing, fun to play, and all around a very good product worthy of its price tag, but, somehow, that isn't enough. Ever played The Lost Vikings (which can be played right here)? It had a similar, hero swapping concept, as well as a much heavier focus in puzzles, and it forced you to earn the right to exit each stage. No such thing here, sadly - solutions are literally handed to you. The secondary objective on offer, which has you collecting as many ferries or secret pouches as possible, only to gain more EXP to spend on a tiny skill tree, is fun, but not really that challenging, so only completionists with bother with it after Chapter 1 or so.

It's important to say it once more: this isn't a mediocre game, and it's certainly not a bad one either. It stands somewhere between 'alright' and 'very good.' Something that's enjoyable, but could be much more with a few small changes here and there - with one great example being the sound effects. When it comes to video games, the devil is in the details, so something as simple as better sound effects can improve the experience by tenfold, as immersion is part of the fun. Clan O'Conall is a bit weak when it comes to that. Music, nice as it might be, is something that plays "somewhere" in the background - like distant noise, rather than a part of the game, and the sound effects are surprisingly weak, like when you are being chased by a Godzilla-sized wild boar, yet don't even hear anything, as if you have accidentally pressed the mute button.

Screenshot for Clan O’Conall and the Crown of the Stag on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Clan O'Conall and the Crown of the Stag is a very solid, Celtic-flavoured, action-plaform/puzzler that could be so much more with a little more effort. Everything, from the platforming, puzzle-solving, and fighting, to the three unique heroes that players will have to constantly swap between are very good, but the experience leans a bit too much towards casual-friendly territory. Not a piece of cake, but solutions to each and every problem are way too obvious, and as a result the whole adventure soon loses its immersion factor. A good game, sure, just not a strong recommendation.

Developer

HitGrab

Publisher

HitGrab

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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