Developed By : Second Order
Published By : Second Order
Category : Puzzle, Platformer
Release Date : Mar 12, 2019
Claybook on the Nintendo Switch is…quite the unique puzzle experience. Over recent times, thanks to games like Portal, QUBE, and the like, puzzle games have become a personal forte. Any chance to get my brain pushed around twists and curves, I am always up for it. So, when Claybook fell into our code pool for the website, I just couldn’t resist…I needed a bite of this.
The first thing that stood out about this game was the fact that it’s presentation was absolutely spot on. You take control of a shaped piece of clay that is contained on this tabletop clay-box. Everything around you that you are able to interact with is also made of clay, inside and out. And the best part? You can interact with all of it. Which is going to be key as you play, because remember we’re dealing with a puzzle game here.
Claybook is broken down into books, which themselves are broken down even further into individual levels. Each book and it’s layouts will follow a consistent theme with it’s clay sculptures, whether it is that of a wooded area, or pieces resembling candy and desserts. From here, the separate levels will find a different way to visually represent that theme in a unique way.
Your main objective in this game will vary from level to level though. Each level, much like its appearance, will contain it’s own objectives as well, and it will be up to you to determine how to complete those objectives. There’s a wide range of these too, such as traveling to a number of set objective points, delivering specific shaped pieces of clay to certain areas, consuming different items within the levels…and be weary of these objectives. The simplest looking ones may not actually be so simple, and the same can be said for the ones that will appear to be super tough right off the bat.
Now, the main vessel within these levels is you, who will be possessing a shaped piece of clay. The default that shape you begin as can typically be morphed into one of four shapes : a sphere, a square, a cylinder, and a rectangle. It becomes speedily apparent that you’ll need to make use of all of these shapes when the time is right, because some are more powerful than others in some areas. For instance, the square is faster at climbing up steep hill-like obstacles, while the rectangle or cylinder could be preferred for traversing stairs.
Also planted throughout the levels will be other clay shapes, some big and some small. These are generally set as what they are when you find them, so if you come across a giant sphere just remember it can only be that giant sphere. These planted shapes are going to be just as important for varying reasons depending on your objectives. In some stages where you are asked to “devour” some of the chocolate that can be found in some levels, the bigger the piece of clay the faster the devouring will be. Or in others, you may be asked to deliver a specific shape to multiple spots in the level, and these set pieces will be conveniently located close enough to the delivery zones so you can “drop-off” your clay and move on.
It wasn’t difficult at all to fall in love with playing Claybook. It’s a game that is as simple or tough as you choose to make it. While progression through the later books in the game is locked behind earning a set number of stars on previous levels, these stars aren’t too challenging to come by.
There’s really two factors that go into how many of the three stars you’ll earn on a given level. One is naturally your time, how quickly did you complete the objective(s)? The other factor though is percentage of completion. You’ll notice even within the very first level of the game that you don’t necessarily need to achieve 100% completion on each puzzle. As soon as you’ve done enough, which is relative to each level and it’s objectives, a pop-up will appear in your objectives corner telling you that your GOAL is now open if you’d like to complete the level.
If you’re looking for a challenging yet relaxed experience (yes I’m somehow managing to put those two things together and be okay with it) Claybook is absolutely the game for you. The feel and look of each level is so beautiful and it all perfectly melds with the melodic soundtrack. The levels may push you but again, you don’t need to fully complete them if that’s not your thing. Whether you find yourself itching to obtain all the stars possible, or you’re just setting this game to cruise control and strolling through it, you’re bound to have a great time with this game so don’t pass on it!