Version Reviewed: 1.05
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
It’s the classic love story. Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy tries to get Girl back. But did I mention the Boy is a downtrodden maintenance robot and the Girl is pastel pink nuclear missile? I guess maybe ‘classic’ would be stretching it a bit.
Things are not going well in the deep recesses of this dilapidated Martian factory. F.A.T.H.E.R., the supercomputer in charge, has disappeared, leaving the worker robots confused and without direction. Lacking anything better to do in the interim, some enterprising bot discovers that consuming diesel fuel gets them quite tipsy. The result? NON-STOP ROBOT PARTY!
Enter CLARC. Poor CLARC is just trying to go about his job, fixing and maintaining the factory, when he finds himself smitten by Clara, a nuclear knockout. But before long strange bots arrive from outside the factory, attacking the partybots and abducting Clara. CLARC finds himself thrust into the unlikely role of hero as he attempts to save the factory and rescue his bombshell babe.
CLARC contains a surprising amount of charm and heart for an action puzzle game. A lot of that stems from GoldenTricycle’s excellent visual design. The grimey, but still colorful cel-shaded graphics echo shades of Borderlands and its own iconic robot mascot, Claptrap. Meanwhile, CLARC's own design evokes memories of WALL-E, making it hard not to fall in love with the little guy.
The gameplay takes place in an isometric perspective and the controls couldn’t be much simpler, consisting of only a virtual d-pad on the left and a swipeable arc and button on the right. Swiping the arc rotates Clarc (and the camera) 90 degrees left or right, while tapping the button engages his tractor beam to lift and carry objects. After my recent distaste for Pixel Hunter’s virtual d-pad, it was nice to find one that felt responsive and didn’t make controlling the character a chore at all.
After slowly introducing players to the basic mechanics of the game over the first couple of levels (opening doors with pressure switches, blocking lasers with solid cubes or redirecting them with ones containing tubes, etc.) CLARC ratchets up the tension factor considerably, following the arrival of the invading robots. At this point, players won’t just be casually puzzling out how to get from one room to the next, but will instead have to think on their feet while dodging moving hazards and hostile enemies that will hunt poor CLARC down. The only honest complaint I have is that this difficulty spike happens a bit early on and might catch somebody off-guard. Players should adapt fairly quickly, however, even if it does get occasionally frustrating having to watch CLARC explode several times as one susses out how to best approach a section.
Tight controls, challenging gameplay, adorable robots, and hey - even a love story, why not? CLARC really does have a lot going for it and I’m certainly going to be looking forward to what the dev team at GoldenTricycle comes up with next.