I'm starting to think we need to be a bit more careful with our mad scientists. Those that don't become menaces to society and need to be rounded up by Spider-Man generally end up messing things up one way or another anyway. Such is the case with Grandpa Clumsy (there's a red flag), whose time-traveling antics wind up setting modern history back. Way back. So it's up to his granddaughter Helen (and you!) to set things right in The Clumsys 2: Butterfly Effect, a hidden-object game about cause and effect. Or about squished butterflies and history lessons. Which are practically the same things anyway.
Like any other HOG, the game is played with the mouse. Helen will move throughout history, taking you from one hidden object scene to another. Items yet to be found are displayed at the top of the screen in blue, while undiscovered items that are black are hidden from view somehow. If your cursor turns to gears when you move past a location, that means you can click on it for a closer look.
Typically, you're trying to make sure history happens the way it should. It turns out that one dead butterfly can lead to a whole lot of missed chances. So while history's greatest minds are off presumably being wise and making big decisions, you and Helen will sneak around behind the scenes scraping mold out of their fridge or rummaging through their sock drawer. For science, of course. The puzzles are mostly limited to knowing where to use a particular item, and luckily for you, The Clumsys went to the school of logic and decided to make those solutions very straightforward. You know, in case you were sick of using a frog to churn butter or something.
Analysis: The Clumsys 2 is rather loosely based on Ray Bradbury's short story classic, "The Sound of Thunder", only with somewhat less illiteracy and doom, and a big heaping helping of good ol' fashioned edutainment. (Good for what ails ya.) It's a very friendly, colourful game with accessible gameplay, designed more to entertain than to challenge. While the hidden object scenes tend to be well done, with items all pertaining to the area and time period for once, it's unlikely that you'll ever find yourself stymied, and then not for long. The game doesn't punish for mis-clicks, and the hint timer refills very quickly.
What sets Clumsys 2 apart from many other HOGs on the market these days is a direct infusion of logic. Rather than hunting down six pinwheels, a rubber chicken, and a garden gnome to progress, you'll be hunting down the proper implements throughout history to make sure certain scenes and discoveries happen the way they should. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, this will also occasionally make modern day objects appear that you'll need to hunt down before Ben Franklin freaks out over some ray-bans or something. You're hardly going to come out of this game ready to take on Trivial Pursuit with the best of them, but its still nice to come across a game that at least makes an effort to stimulate our oft underused gray matter.
While I never felt particularly challenged by the game, I did enjoy it, the same way I remember enjoying programs like The Magic Schoolbus or (his lordship) Bill Nye The Science Guy. Younger kids will probably get the biggest kick out of it, but it might not pack enough flash for older gamers. The only real downside other than its simplicity, which could have you whizzing through it, is that the gameplay is mostly identical to the original. Adding some different puzzles would have gone a long way towards making it feel more fresh and distinct. If you're looking for something nice and casual to take up an afternoon, The Clumsys 2: Butterfly Effect will serve that need nicely. And reminder folks; time travel is serious business and should only be attempted if you have a teenage granddaughter willing to clean up all your time-altering messes.