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Clocker is an exhausting puzzle game that explores time and love

New Chinese indie game lets you solve puzzles by traveling in time

7 Mar, 2019 7:09am EDT
If you are a hardcore fan of puzzle games or time-traveling stories
Don't Buy
If you don’t enjoy spending too much time on one game

Sometimes we just wish things would happen at the right time and in the right order. Side-scrolling puzzle game Clocker lets you do just that.

It’s a clever Chinese indie game where you pause time and rearrange the order of events to reunite a father and daughter. Launched on Steam after 2.5 years of crowdfunding, Clocker is full of time-bending puzzles that force you to ponder how one event leads to another, and how things -- in game or in real life -- could turn out very differently even if there was only a one-second delay.

You can delay or move forward actions of each character in the scene by turning your magical pocket watch. (Picture: Wild Kid Games)

While the father is looking for a way back to his daughter, he has to overcome obstacles and forge a clear path ahead. To do that, he uses his magical pocket watch. These puzzles are often quite challenging, stretching your analytic and creative thinking skills. Some require a lot of work because they span across multiple scenes. One of them, for instance, requires you to change the result of a soccer match by influencing what happens in a lab elsewhere.

This isn’t a game you can easily speed through in your first try. The difficulties mean it can be a frustrating experience at times, but also very rewarding when you’re finally able to solve the puzzles.

I’ll admit not all the puzzles in Clocker made sense to me. There are a few where the logic baffles me -- maybe it’s because my puny brain couldn’t understand it. Those became some of the most disheartening moments for me in the game.

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Another feature that frustrated me: The controls. With so many moving pieces in each scene, it was difficult to toggle between different characters and their stopwatches. At times, I found myself wishing this was a point-and-click game instead.

What Clocker does best though is holding its plot and gameplay tightly around a central theme: The concept of missed opportunities. It’s ultimately a tale of love between a father and daughter. Without spoiling the story, I’d say that I appreciate how well it delivers the message of carpe diem, especially with a catch at the end of the game.

You know what comes to mind? “Murph!” (Picture: Wild Kid Games)

If you don’t mind spending hours on end trying to solve laborious puzzles, Clocker is a compelling game that leaves you with a deep appreciation about the wonders of how time and space work. It’s an arduous experience though, so be prepared if you’re not a hardcore puzzle fan.

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