REVIEW: Claybook (Nintendo Switch)

Game: Claybook
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer/ Publisher: Second Order
Price: €14.99| $14.99 | £13.49
Age Rating: EU: 3+ | USA: E
Release Date: March 12th, 2019
Also Available On: Playstation, Xbox & Steam

Review code kindly provided by Second Order

Tumble into a whimsical world of clay and roll, carve and puzzle your way through a host of levels that test your skills. The game also invites you to create your own levels and join the Claybook community in sharing your scores and designs.

Keep Rolling, Rolling, Rolling…

Claybook comes packaged with four ‘books’ with a few levels each that teach you how to use the different shapes and solve the modest selection of objectives in increasingly challenging ways. They vary from reaching waypoints to ‘eating’ certain portions of the level using the ‘Carve’ mechanic. The game devises many clever ways of solving each objective and gives you the freedom to approach them in many ways. But the entirety of the ready made content is very brief.

Shaping Up

As well as the default ball, you can transform into an cube, cylinder and wheel at any time. Each have their own uses such as the wheel squeezing through tight spaces and the cylinder climbing stairs. Some levels will also have other controllable shapes to fit certain waypoints or tight spaces. Most exciting is the rocket which allows you to shoot into the air and zip around the map. The whole selection is simple enough and invites you to come up with many ingenious uses.

One particular feature I have yet to mention is the ‘Stamp’ function. You leave a solid copy of your shape behind as well as rewind back through the path you have travelled. It’s quite clever and provides an extra dimension to the challenges as well as the option to easily reattempt certain sections.

All of this aside, there are a few gripes I had with the controls. The objects you control often build momentum quickly which makes the tighter sections often frustrating. ‘Carving’ through the scenery can be a little inconsistent which makes certain challenges a little grating too. Lastly, stamping will sometimes either not leave a copy behind or leave the copy nor quite where you intended. Though ultimately you can easily reset the entire stage pretty swiftly using the minus button.

Mould Your Own

The last big feature is the Stage Builder. Using the various tools you can create levels to your own specifications and add objectives ultimately shaping your creation on par with the pre-made levels. Though the game is generous with assets and essentially allows you to build whatever you could dream of within the environment set, the controls were very challenging and my patience only afforded my creativity to produce some very rudimentary challenges.

Luckily a few other levels had been made by the few others in the community for me to test. But their simplistic designs reflected my own gripes, though as the game makes its way into more hands I imagine more dab handed players may eventually produce more substantial creations.

This showed up a lot when I was on the go, disabling it wasn’t an option…

Dough? D’oh!

Ultimately, though Claybook has some very clever and well thought out design, the base package is very minimal. The controls are fiddly at times but functional and there is clearly huge promise with the community generated content.

Brief is the word that burns into my mind the most however. I did enjoy the game, but its brevity and reliance on user-generated content really let the fuller feeling core package I would expect down.

I’m Neutral about this game

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