The Clockwork Man is a beautifully illustrated hidden object game from Total Eclipse. Set in a stunning steampunk world, you follow aspiring engineer Miss Miranda Calomy and her clockwork companion Sprocket as they travel from London across the seas and beyond. The adventure doesn't stray far from the hidden object standard, but the story and setting are exquisitely presented and the game itself a true joy to experience.
At the game's outset, Miranda receives a letter from her grandfather Cornelius, a scientist and accomplished inventor. Well, she received the letter days ago, but somehow it got lost in the disheveled mess she calls a home. What's a poor hidden object gamer to do? You guessed it, clean up the mess by finding items on a list! Once you locate the envelope you learn exactly what Cornelius needs and set out on your journey.
The Clockwork Man features several types of hidden object scenes that do a great job bending convention. The first type you'll encounter are zoomable levels where you can get an up-close view of part of the stage. You'll also get to see scrollable scenes that feature parallax objects gliding before your eyes. Use the controls at the bottom-center of the screen, the mouse wheel, or arrow keys to zoom in and out or scroll left and right. Apart from the hidden object scenes, you'll also encounter a handful of unique mini-games, all of which fit the game's steampunk setting very well.
Analysis: First things first: The Clockwork Man is a beautiful game. Every item, every object and every scene is drawn with intimate detail, even the backdrops show a lot of love and attention. The game features a lot of voicework, and while I'm normally not a fan of this in casual games, Total Eclipse gets it right with surprisingly good actors. It all ties together into a neat package you can't take your eyes away from until you reach the end.
The hint system is worth mentioning, as this is usually one of the things that can make or break a hidden object game. Sprocket functions as a hint machine and he gets to equip four fun gadgets that offer a different way to find items. The only drawback is that each device uses some of his power, so the more specific the hint, the more power is consumed. Wait a while and he'll recover energy, but don't hold your clicks in the meantime. The Clockwork Man doesn't have a timer and you aren't punished for clicking too much, so feel free to explore the gorgeous scenery with as many button pushes as you like!
Now for the bad news: The Clockwork Man is a bit on the short side. For all of the meticulously handcrafted artwork, the beautiful scenery and stellar voice acting, you'll find it ends far too soon after just three enchanting chapters. It's a wonderful ride while it lasts, and the possibility of a sequel doesn't seem too far-fetched.
A beautiful atmosphere (and I'm not just saying that because I love steampunk), gorgeous settings, and hidden object gameplay that gets everything right. The Clockwork Man is nothing short of breathtaking on almost every front. The only crime the game commits is making you fall in love with it before leaving you after just three or four hours of gameplay.