Classic point & click adventures are a rarity on home consoles, many choosing to follow the more interactive graphic stories format set by the Telltale game series’. While I’m a fan of those sort of games I do yearn for a more traditional style of puzzle solving & interactivity.
Thankfully Artifex Mundi’s Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink does enough to satisfy my craving with it’s fun & well-paced puzzles, interesting steampunk world & beautiful hand-painted backgrounds.
Dr Ambrose Ink is investigating the cause of devastating earthquakes. His work leads him to the snowy town of Hochwald high in the mountains where he requests the aid of Evangeline Glass, a secret agent. Arriving at the town before she can find out many details from the doctor he is captured by a giant robot & taken to the mysterious & well-guarded Barber Castle.
It’s up to Evangeline & Dr Ink’s robotic pet raven to unravel the mystery of the earthquakes & save Dr Ink.
The world in which this game is set is fascinating combining steampunk imagery & gadgets with elements of fascism akin to Nazi Germany. The mysterious Gerhard Barber remains a sinister figure seemingly at the head of the plot to kidnap Dr Ink with the route to his castle & an eventual showdown very exciting.
The hand-painted backgrounds are really well done with great detail helping bring the story & world alive. The use of voice-acting at times also adds a more realistic element to characters (although a few voices are cringe-worthy – the little girl in the Inn in particular).
Clockwork Tales: Of Glass & Ink is an easy game to get into with early puzzles being simple & often a matter of trial & error. As the story moves along puzzles become more devious & require much more thought. However, they are never so difficult that they border on frustration, all are easily solvable adding a sense of satisfaction when you get past a tricky one.
Near the end of the game they do come a bit thick & fast though & finishing one just to hit another a few minutes later was a bit frustrating. There is a hint system in place should you get stuck but you’ll rarely need it provided you’re willing to think about your next steps.
The real fun in Clockwork Tales comes from picking up objects & slowly piecing everything together. Unlike many point & click adventure games here you don’t end up with huge amounts of usable objects in your inventory leaving you confused about what goes where. Every object you pick up has a purpose & helps move the story forward.
The game can last anywhere between 2-4 hours depending upon your skill level. An additional chapter where you play as Dr Ink arriving in Hochwald adds more meat to the bone of the story & he has one of the more cleverly done puzzles in the entire game.
Additional difficulty levels & collectible mechanical insects add some replay value to game.
The imagination & effort put into creating this fun & involving adventure is admirable. The steampunk creations & hand-painted backgrounds are a joy to look at & there is plenty of substance to go along with the style.
Clockwork Tales: Of Ink & Glass