The Clumsys is a hidden object game that departs from the traditional formula just enough to feel like a new experience. It's Tim's tenth birthday and his friends are over to celebrate. Grandpa Albert is working on a time machine in the barn, but when he turns his back the children discover it and go hurdling through time. Each of the 20 kids has been deposited in a different era, and it's your job to find them, fix all the problems they've caused, and bring them back!
Because children love to make a mess, your main task will be to find and eliminate all inappropriate objects in each area you visit. You'll start with hidden object scenes and move on to find and replace games and more, all centered around the item hunting mechanic. Instead of finding lists of objects, however, The Clumsys gives you a much more nebulous task: find the items that don't fit. It's a bit disorienting at first, but most objects are obvious stand-outs (such as a basketball in Napoleon's tent) and you won't have much trouble spotting them.
Once you gather items in a location you'll move on to find and replace. This section gives you a list of hidden items you'll need to find, and once found you'll use a small silhouette thumbnail clue to put it back in the correct place. Afterwards you'll enter the fix mode where you must locate and use several items to undo some sort of damage the child has done in the scene, such as putting the wheels back on the Trojan horse or fixing the Hindenburg's engine.
Finally, after all traces of the child's shenanigans have been erased, it's time to look for the little troublemaker. Using one of the professor's gadgets that you assemble as you play, look around the screen for signs of the child, and solve a quick puzzle (usually involving finding a few items amidst the clutter) to bring them back home.
All of this item finding takes place from a central location where you can choose which area to visit. You complete each mode as you see fit, so if you aren't in the mood to do find and replace, you can always do seek and find in another area.
Analysis: Probably the best feature about The Clumsys is it's long and very satisfying length. There are 20 children to find, each in his or her own time period and location, and each requiring several stages of puzzle solving/item finding before they can be found. This adds up many, many hours of gameplay, and you won't likely get bored during that time.
One hiccup the game experiences is in the hidden object scenes where your only direction is to find the items that don't fit. A few stages are extraordinarily difficult (the 50s television studio comes to mind), and some hold items that, according to the game, don't fit, yet there's no logical reason why. Fortunately the unlimited hint system (which constantly recharges, allowing four levels of hint precision) alleviates this difficulty.
Familiar but with enough variety to draw you in. The Clumsys, with its quirky sense of humor and scattered bits of historical info, is an excellent example of keeping a casual genre fresh without destroying its roots.