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Game Review #193: Claybook (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Jordan M.

Developer: Second Order

Publisher: Second Order

Category: Platformer/Puzzle

Release Date: 03.12.2019

Price (at time of review): $14.99

Buy Claybook from the Nintendo eShop here.

Mastering the Way of Clay

Claybook is a game created by the Finnish development team Second Order. The game was originally released as an early access version on Steam in October 2017, and officially released in August of the next year on PC, PS4, and Xbox. Now, Claybook is releasing on Nintendo Switch. In the game, you roll around as a ball of clay in a world where everything is made of... you guessed it, clay. You have the ability to change into different shapes and carve out areas of the map in order to overcome obstacles while you roll around, interacting and changing your environment, where everything can be molded or shaped.

Take a Look, It's in a Book

This game possesses a lot of different features. In the regular mode, you progress through the game playing "books" like a storybook. Each book, like a regular story book, has chapters. You earn points throughout each chapter to unlock new chapters of each book, and new books as well. The editor/sandbox mode allows you to start with a blank slate and create the environment of your choosing, letting you interact with all the different types of blobs and such. The game also allows you to create your own books, each with its own chapters which you can then upload and share with the rest of the game's online community.

You use your left stick to move your clay blob around the map, and your right stick controls your camera angles. Use the different directions on your D pad to change your shape into one of four possible types. Each shape type has its own unique abilities as far as interacting with the environment around you. By using A, you can rewind your progress. This can be used in several different ways. It can help you to go back if you've made a mistake or found yourself stuck in a hole or a certain area. Y will allow you, at times, to take control of different objects around you. ZR allows your shape to carve through different parts of the environment. This is necessary for certain puzzles where perhaps something needs to be drained, or a hole needs to be dug out, etc. Each shape carves things in different ways, so play around with each one and see how it works for you.

The Colors, Duke!

The colors in this game are quite nice and remind me of a style kind of like Little Big Planet, or the upcoming Switch game Yoshi's Crafted World. The clay looks good and makes for a fun environment. The instrumental soundtrack is a little limited as far as my experience goes. I would have liked to have heard a few more songs added so you aren't hearing the same ones over and over again.

Is It Worth Building Up?

I hate to say this, but to me, this is a game with a lot of potential that, unfortunately, just wasn't executed properly. The different areas of the game look great, and the game has so many features and modes that I wanted to really like it, but I couldn't. The music was repetitive. It is the same few songs over and over, which for the first half hour is fine and slightly whimsical-sounding, but gets stale really quickly. I found myself often getting frustrated with the camera angles.

I constantly was having to rewind the game because I would get myself wedged somehow in a hole and feeling hopelessly stuck. Also, I don't understand why the other versions, such as PC or PlayStation 4, allow for four player multiplayer, but the Switch version does not. I'm not sure if this is something they intend to add at a later date, but the eShop page says it is only one player, so perhaps not. I really hope they decide to add that later because Switch seems like the perfect system for that. An okay game if you're looking for something to play with a child or as just something semi-relaxing.

Score: 6.5/10

Buy Claybook from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by UberStrategist, Inc.

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