If rolling around a ball of clay in order to achieve certain goals sounds fun to you then here's the very unique Claybook.
Claybook is a strange game indeed. You play it by simply rolling around a ball of clay which puts dents in the environment. By holding down a shoulder button, you can dig further into your surroundings which allows you to carve through walls, etc. Also, you have the ability to rewind time using another shoulder button which creates a suspended clone of your ball of clay. Finally, you can switch between different shapes on the fly as well as possess certain objects within each stage. This may sound quite complicated but once you get to grips with Claybook's unconventional gameplay, it all becomes easily doable. Overall, the unique gameplay setup allows for some impressively clever stages and situations that are enjoyable to master, especially if you can climb the leaderboards.
The main campaign in Claybook consists of 5 books that contain 4 stages in each. You can earn up to 3 stars within every stage and collecting all 60 of them will require a lot of retries and thinking outside the box in some levels. The stage goals range from checkpoint races to having to fill certain shapes, eat all the chocolate, or fill tanks with liquid. Some levels even have multiple goals. The 5 books feature various themes such as candy land, a chocolate factory, and elaborate nature-inspired environments. Thankfully, the visuals are fantastic and make each stage feel somewhat lifelike and looking at the goofy kid who's controlling the clay with a joystick makes it all the more immersive. The developers really did an awesome job of crafting a distinct and visually appealing game world.
Although Claybook is a very fun and unique game, it does have a few downsides. For starters, I would have liked to see much more than just 20 stages in the main campaign. Speaking of which, the difficulty is rather random as one stage will be a breeze then the next one can be extremely tricky to complete 100%. For example, one stage tasks you with eating all the chocolate and one large piece is suspended high above the stage so it requires a lot of precision and patience to reach. That actually leads me to my next point; why the heck doesn't anything fall? It's very weird that you can destroy the base of something only to see the rest of it floating in mid-air. I hope if they make a sequel to Claybook, it will feature much more realistic physics in this regard.
Before wrapping this up, I should discuss the level editor and community element. You can create your own levels by placing objects within an empty sandbox then giving your creation some goals, etc. Although this is a welcome addition, I found the level editor to be quite barebones and unintuitive. Trying to put something together even half as good as the predefined stages in the main campaign seemed to be impossible for me. Upon trying out some community creations, it seems like others agree since I couldn't find one level that was actually half decent. All of that being said, it is a cool addition and I hope to see some fun creations down the road.
Claybook deserves a lot of credit for being as unique and enjoyable as it is. Even though it doesn't quite feel like a fully fleshed out experience yet, I hope to see a sequel that really runs with its clever concepts.
- + Enjoyable and unique clay-rolling gameplay that offers interesting puzzles
- + Great visuals make gameplay even more fun
- + There's a level editor and community levels
- - Campaign could use more stages / difficulty is all over the map
- - How come stuff doesn't fall?
- - Level editor is cumbersome to use