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Breaking the mould: Claybook preview

It’s not often that I come across a game that I’ve never seen the likes of it before, but Claybook really does break the mould. Being developed by Second OrderClaybook is a bizarre concept that takes place in a world made entirely of clay. The aim? To shape your character and the world around you to navigate obstacles and help you solve a whole host of puzzles.

There’s no real story to it as such, except that you play the role of some brave kids who bring the Claybook to life. Think of it as a much less extreme version of Jumanji. To progress through the game you essentially work your way through the book, each chapter presenting you with new challenges that require you to solve puzzles. To help you navigate the unique obstacles, you are given possession of clay blobs that you form into numerous shapes such as cubes and spheres. Each of the shapes will be suitable for their own situations, and therefore not suitable for other. I feel that more shapes would definitely benefit the game, as although there is a good selection I feel offering more choice would mean bigger and better challenges could be created, and multiple ways could be found to solve the same challenges, adding a little variety to the gameplay.

Whether or not it was done on purpose, that child looks creepy as s***

In terms of graphics, the game is pretty cool. Everything is made out of clay and really looks the part. And what’s best of all, is thanks to the games mechanics and physics engine, everything is given mass which means that anything you can see on the map can be formed, deformed, crushed, smashed, moulded, in fact, anything you can do with clay in real life you can pretty much do here. You’ll be able to make the most of this though in the game’s sandbox mode which gives you the freedom to play with all the different shapes at your disposal and to explore the environment too.

That said, there are some improvements I’d like to see because I found the controls to be over-sensitive at times and just the slightest movement set your shapes off when you’d be trying to gently control what you’re doing. There was also one occasion where I was trying to roll down a hill but because of the environment changing around you depending on how you interact with it, I ended up getting stuck and I genuinely don’t know how. Maybe it was a bug or a glitch but I couldn’t escape and it meant having to leave the game and restarting it to solve the situation I found myself in. Other than that though I didn’t discover anything else that seemed to bug me much.

Is it just me or does this look like a clay version of Screwball Scramble?

Claybook certainly is a unique game, and whilst it is a great choice to switch on for something to wind down and relax to, it isn’t a game that is going to have you on the edge of your seat playing it late into the night. The graphics are pretty cool though, although the kids in it look very creepy and if I hadn’t played it, I’d say anyone seeing them for the first time could mistake the game for a horror title. Mechanics are good as well, with the idea of the game’s physics making everything have mass so whatever you see in front of you can be squashed, frozen or destroyed. But there are a lot of improvements to be made with over-sensitive controls, what feels like a need for more shapes and also I still can’t get over that time I got stuck. Still, the game is only in Early Access and on Xbox Preview so is very much a work in progress, and hopefully, we’ll see it improve in time.

The TL;DR: 

  • A unique game concept of which I’ve never seen the likes of before
  • Controls can seem a little over-sensitive at times
  • More shapes would be a welcome addition to the game
  • Something about Claybook is rather soothing making it a great choice if you want to relax

Claybook is published and developed by Second Order and is currently available through Early Access on Steam and via Xbox Preview, with a release date to be confirmed for PS4. If you’d like to learn more about the game itself, click HERE to go to the official website.

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