Developer: Second Order
Publisher: Second Order
Genre: Puzzle, Platformer, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 12/03/2019
Price: £13.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
Claybook is a unique world made entirely of clay. Every inch of the environment can be shaped and molded. Everything has matter inside it, not just an outer shell. Clay can be liquid or solid, and it can be deformed and destroyed.
In the game, you step into the shoes of brave kids who bring the Claybook to life. Each chapter of the book challenges you with unique obstacles and puzzles. You possess clay blobs and morph them into different shapes to overcome tricky situations. Each shape has its strengths and weaknesses, and some even have special powers.
Play through a wide range of challenging books and chapters.
Compete in the leaderboards.
Achievements challenges you to use the clay blobs and environment creatively.
Sandbox mode where you can mess around freely with all of the clay blobs.
A unique clay simulation and visualization technology, designed for user-generated content and making it easy for players to unleash their creativity.
An amazing in-game tool that lets you build books and chapters. No technical skills required and share directly inside the game with the Claybook community.
Discover and play cross-platform community creations directly inside the game.
Claybook is about a young boy who can bring clay to life using a special book. He can manipulate the clay and use it to complete different challenges and tasks. Each new chapter of his claybook brings new obstacles and puzzles to the table.
The world changes and morphs around you with each interaction. Watch the clay move, squish and flow as it would do in real life. Take control of other clay objects with your ability and overcome lots of tricky situations. Each shape has its pros and cons and using the right shapes for the current puzzle or challenge will test your creative thinking.
Push boundaries through multiple books, its chapters and compete online with the Claybook online leaderboards. Or get creative in the sandbox mode where the only limit is your imagination.
Looks and Sounds
What is apparent from the very beginning is how wonderful Claybook looks in motion. The game has a unique clay visualisation technology powered by a technology called Clayfield.
This makes the clay move realistically and interacting with the surrounding world feels good. Seeing a clay ball rolling, leaving indentations along the floor is a little detail but a welcome one that adds to the realistic nature of how this material react if it were rolling down ramp or slide made of clay. It’s surprising how well things interact with each other in the Claybook world.
The clay moves and can be morphed by simply moving against other objects on the table. You can build it up or carve it out which makes the clay melt before your very eyes with a touch of a button. Also, the colours mix realistically as clay balls roll over other colours and changes the appearance of your clay object. Everything on the table is made from clay apart from the area surrounding the table which is located in a huge kids bedroom.
There’s a constant sense that you’re being watched while you play Claybook, that’s because you are! The game is overseen from the perspective of a young kid sitting at a table. He uses a retro joy-stick as though he’s controlling the object you’re controlling. His dead stare can be off-putting but wasn’t too distracting but I have to say it looks cool and makes Claybook’s world feel alive. The graphics look good and I loved the realistic clay effects.
The sound effects fit the overall presentation of Claybook well with its relaxing melodies and peaceful soundtracks. Each chapter has its own soft music playing in the background which fits the relaxing nature of this puzzle platformer very well.
Gameplay and Replayability
There are 5 Claybooks with 4 chapters in each and 3 stars to collect on every chapter, which adds up to 60 stars to collect in the main campaign.
Each claybook has its unique theme such as Candy Land, Factory, Woods and even a Space themed level. All chapters in each of the Claybooks have a range of different environments to explore and each one is as diverse as last and filled with their own puzzles and challenges.
These challenges range from getting to certain points on the map as quickly as possible or filling a ghost shape with a certain amount of clay, or even filling a specific area full of liquid. These challenges repeat throughout the campaign but new elements are added during play, and if you want that 3-star rating you will have to complete all of them.
These challenges are updated on the fly, and new ones will be introduced as you play. After completing specific tasks, the exit will open, and it’s your choice if you wish to exit or continue playing.
Completing all challenges will reward you with 3-star rating otherwise leaving without finishing all tasks will result in you not receiving all the stars. New books unlock after a certain number of stars have been collected.
So how do you control your clay-like hero?
You can move around the environment with the left analogue stick. You can carve through objects and the scenery by pressing ZR trigger. This helps you destroy or pass through objects blocking your path. You can possess other objects that are close to you by just pressing the Y button.
You can also morph your shape to a square, circle and even a disk. These are available in different chapters and can be activated by pressing the direction pad in any of the four directions.
You can also stamp and rewind time with either the A button or ZL trigger. This gives you the ability to rewind time if you fall off a platform, which comes in handy later on. The extra ability to stamp means you will be able to leave a clone of yourself in your last position. Meaning you can create new paths to pass certain hazards.
You control the camera with right analogue stick; however, this is where my issues with Claybook reside.
The camera is awful even though you have three viewpoints to pick from. You can turn the camera left and right with the right analogue stick. Frustratingly, I found most of the time the camera would fight me and would always give me the worst possible angle.
Most of the time the camera would block my viewpoint or fly in at an angle where I couldn’t see where I was and sometimes resulted in me falling off platforms. Thankfully, the rewind ability sorts some of this frustration out. This was the one blemish in Claybook that frustrated me the most.
However, even though the awkward camera makes it difficult to navigate certain tasks, it can be overcome. And it doesn’t bring the whole package crashing down thankfully.
Negatives aside what else can you do in Claybook?
Well, apart from completing tasks and puzzles through each chapter. There’s also a competitive side to Claybook thanks to its online leaderboards. As you play through each chapter, you will be aware that there’s a clock ticking. Completing any level quickly will put your best time up on the online leaderboards. So there is an incentive to replay levels to get the best time in each chapter and be first on the leaderboards and beat your friends.
I’ve talked a lot about the main game but what about the creative side of Claybook?
The Sandbox mode is a huge selling point for me. It’s just like the main game, but you get to create a book, chapters and add and create your own Claybook. Not only can you do this in the dedicated Sandbox mode, but in any of the main game. This lets you edit and change the levels to how you see fit, which is a great inclusion.
The main Sandbox mode lets you use 54 different shapes from the main game. You can also use 3 gameplay mechanics, 2 tools, 2 triggers, 8 scoring mechanics and templates. My first creation was a Peache’s Castle and recreation of The Mushroom Kingdom. Like any good level editor, you can add objectives and create your games within each, just like the main campaign.
You can also set presets – gameplay mechanics, and challenges that have already been created for you which is helpful. Especially if not sure how to set up or use them. My only issue is there is no real tutorial here to help you out when you first boot up Sandbox mode. It took a lot of trial and error as I tried to figure out what I could do.
Most of the controls are displayed on the HUD, and there is a help menu, but I would have preferred to have had a step by step tutorial when starting it up for the first time.
This game will thrive on user-generated content thanks to the cross-platform sharing. I can imagine that there’s going to be a lot of user-generated content. There’s also a Community section which will allow you to play other peoples Claybooks.
If you haven’t guessed it already, I liked Claybook. I especially loved Sandbox mode which allowed me to create anything my imagination could come up with. I hope the developers support this area of the game and add more tools and shapes in the future. The main campaign won’t take too long to complete, but it’s a stepping stone for what you can come up with in Sandbox mode.
The camera can be quite frustrating, and the lack of in-game tutorials is a shame, but Claybook is a unique title which will no doubt fit well on the Switch.
We all have an inner child, and the creative aspect of this puzzler will make him or her very happy. Let your imagination run free and see what you can create!
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Claybook at the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Claybook-1527566.html
This sounds like a blast to play with my daughter. Great read.