Reviewed by @Brett_SevenDaze
- Developer: Second Order
- Publisher: Second Order
- Release Date: 12/03/2019
- Price: £13.49 / $14.99
- Review code provided by Second Order
Claybook is a unique sandbox game which lets you mould and manipulate the environment around you due to everything you are able to touch and control being made of clay. This style of game play was made possible by using Second Order’s in house developed technology named Clayfield, using this technology they can render and simulate rich volumetric clay environments. Letting you play till your hearts content, whether you are playing through a handful of pre-made levels in Play Book mode, Creating your very own playground out of the soft, malleable material in create mode or finally one of the many wacky levels other players have made in the community creations section.
There are 20 levels spread over 5 play books in total with each level showcasing a new element to the game from eating chocolate to racing around a course to get the best time. The levels are short with objectives to complete, my personal favourite being rocket run which lets you fly around in a clay rocket, it is no easy feat controlling it though and you will inevitably crash many, many times into the environment around you, which is half the fun.
There is one major issue with Claybook and that is the camera angles, this can cause the level to glitch out in spectacular and humorous ways. It is quite funny watching a clay rubber duck freaking out and disappearing when you are moving the camera angle into certain positions trying to get a better view of the mouldable landscape around you. I also found that the game would freak out a lot when ventured over by the border of the level causing you to fall into voids which were never meant to accessed, this can easily be resolved by rewinding the possessed clay item or pressing the – button to restart the level.
Second Order have done a fantastic job of mapping out the controls for the switch and made it somewhat simple to play, it gets slightly more awkward in create mode but after spending a few hours sculpting your first masterpiece they will become second nature to you. The one button I became reliant on was the stamp + rewind button, when pressed it will create a clay replica of you and rewinds a few seconds. This is great when trying to get to a hard to reach area as you can use the replica as a stepping stone or if you have carved too much out of an area that you can no longer get to you can build it back up with the stamp mechanic.
If the level is getting to you and you wanna take a more relaxed pace and explore the landscape a bit more you can press pause and switch to sandbox mode, this removes the timer and objectives. You can exit sandbox mode at any time to return to the task in hand.
Using the Clayfield technology Second Order have been able to achieve a fully interactive environment which lets the user generate their own content. Starting off with an empty green pasture completely made of clay the player can create a world which is only limited by their imagination.
You can use any feature and mode from the main game, whether you want make a crazy race track and use the Rad racer mode, a level with hard to reach platforms and using the checkpoint mode or throw out the textbook and create your very own clay based masterpiece.
I found the menus to be slightly confusing and felt they were unfinished, some tabs let you use the analog stick to change options then in others you would need to use the D pad to move around, at first I thought my Joy Con had stopped working then realised what you had to do.
The world is a weird and wonderful place to live where no 2 people are the same sharing unique and innovative idea’s. The same goes to the online community for Claybook, due to the cross-platform functionality I was able to access a full library of levels already created, The first level to be downloaded was intriguingly named the Poo Poo Banana, I was deeply disappointed to find an empty landscape with the words Poo Poo Banana carved out of clay towering above everything else. was this the act of a genius or created out of pure boredom?
Claybook is a great game to pass the time but with no real story line to engross you into it can be a short lived experience for certain players, I can see this game appealing to people who play minecraft, lego worlds and other construction games. The game does have its fair share of issues from camera angles, levels glitching and not being able to control menus consistently but these can be improved over time with future updates. If the Switch fan base can get behind this title and add to the ever growing community content this could be a title to watch out for.
• A new and unique experience for the switch
• An ever growing library of content with Cross-platform
• Looks great in both handheld and docked mode
• controls are easy to get use to
•Camera angles can cause havoc
• Short campaign in play-book mode, only 20 levels
• The game can glitch out spectacularly
• The Child is creepy with his eyes follow you around the terrain.
A unique and enjoyable game which will have you mould and sculpt a world made of clay, with an ever growing community there is endless fun to be had