Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink has many calls to a classic steampunk tale, coated with an appropriate aesthetic of clockwork gadgets, gears and cogs, steam driven machinery, a mechanical companion and even a zeppelin. Like many steampunk stories there’s also a corrupt political villain who’s shrouded in mystery but has German soldiers patrolling the streets of Hochwald and even a secret all-powerful weapon. Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink does a great job in disguising this steampunk adventure initially in what appears to be a standard hidden object-like story but the game quickly thrusts you into a sci-fi adventure that you’ll be yearning to solve.
The game combines the characteristics of a classic HOPA (Hidden Objects Puzzle Adventure game) whereby you are playing the role of Evangeline Glass as you explore multiple locations, talk and interact with NPCs and, best of all, solve challenging puzzles and mini-games. Among the latter there is an appopriate mix of both hidden objects and puzzles that require the player to take part in the manipulation of objects and elements of the environment, as well as simple mini-games that more often than not require some logical thinking to solve as some of these puzzles prove to be fairly challenging if one is not accustomed to the HOPA genre.
The core of this game is the hidden objects scenes which take different forms in Clockwork: Tales of Glass and Ink which starts with fractured hidden object scenes (FHOGs) whereby you search for items but these items will be split into several pieces, leaving the player to explore different locations to retrieve the items that come together to make the full object, which is required to solve a different clue. Which, as you progress through the game allows the player to slowly piece together full objects to complete the puzzle. These FHOGs are blended nicely with interactive hidden object scenes which tend to point you to objects that can immediately be used to solve challenging puzzles then and there. This balance was welcome and often prevented the game from becoming stale due to the variety in gameplay the puzzles offered.
Another prevalent aspect in Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink is the mini-games scattered throughout the game often in the interim between the main puzzles. I found these often didn’t provide the same levels of challenging thinking required to solve the main puzzles but there was often a great deal of creativity and originality that made these mini-games more than welcome for the player to solve in the middle of solving the main puzzles of the game. In another way to add variety to the game the player also has the option of collecting Steambugs they find throughout the game around various locations which again adds a welcome variety to the solving of the main puzzles.
What makes Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink really stand out among other similar games are the beautiful and atmospheric visuals which complement the steampunk nature of the story superbly. The constant steampunk machinations and themes clearly allowed the artists on the game to let their creative side out and the locations in the game definitely demonstrate this with beautiful hand-drawn art that the artists clearly put a lot of care into. Thankfully, the voice actors normally performed well and as-expected of the nature and location of the story but unfortunately some of the voice acting didn’t exactly fit very well but this was more often the issues of side characters and so didn’t do much in taking away the immersion that the main characters provided.
Overall, there are few downsides to speak of when it comes to Clockwork Tales: of Glass and Ink as developers Artifex Mundi have made yet another thrilling game, with smooth gameplay, beautiful visuals and genuinely challenging puzzles that keep the game engaging. The best part of the game that can’t be found in many other games of the genre is the immersive steampunk atmosphere that really does immerse the reader into the world and story of Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink.
+ Genuinely challenging puzzles with variety and originality
+ Great atmosphere and steampunk aesthetics
+ Hyrbid of adventure and hidden objects
– Voice acting poor for some characters
Final verdict: 8/10