Never, ever, under estimate the power of a wonderful art style. From Mad World to Limbo to The Witness to Cuphead, if a game has a unique look, it’s likely to get a lot of curious eyes on it.
It’s even better when that game appears to be a quality production, as is the case with the quite-frankly-beautiful platformer, ‘Claybook’ which released on Steam Early Access today.
Developed by Second Order Games in Finland, Claybook had a long, fascinating road to release and the positive response its received so far on Steam and social media is wonderful.
So, what is Claybook? Where can you get it? Will it be on consoles? Well, the answer to those questions can be found below, so read on to learn more.
1. Claybook Was Developed By Two “Trials” Veterans
Claybook is a physics-based puzzler, you’ll be traversing over ledges, up streams, over chasms, and modifying your shape, size, and momentum to complete objectives. A game like this by a first-time indie-team could be concerning. Platforming has a number of pitfalls that can turn a good concept bad, and invisible walls, bad controls, bad frame-rate and awkward objectives could ruin everything.
Thankfully, the guys behind the game worked on the famed ‘Trials’ series – which is a critically acclaimed physics-based motocross puzzler / racer. This means Claybook is in capable and knowledgable hands.
Similar to ‘Trials’ Claybook features a massive editor with a focus on making your own fun. This means, even in early access, the game can provide nearly limitless options. And, considering the ability to share these designs is already live, it’s clear Claybook is in is being developed by people who know exactly what they’re doing.
2. The Engine Was Designed With A Console Release In Mind
When you look at Claybook you immediately start to wonder if your computer can run it. Seeing the destructible, meltable, malleable terrain, the various filters that make all the objects in the game look like actual clay, and knowing about the massive level editor may make you think those of us relegated to our PS4s and Xbox Ones are going to left out of the proverbial kiln regarding the title.
Well, fret not, the official website for the game states the technology used to develop the game was created with console play in mind:
“Claybook is powered by our in-house developed technology called Clayfield. Using this technology we can render and simulate rich volumetric clay environments. Clayfield makes new kind of user generated content possible. Players can unleash their creativity without having to worry about the technical details. Our technology is designed for butter smooth 60 fps gameplay on PC and consoles.”
As for a console release date, that remains to be seen.
2. It’s Been Described As Crayon Physics Deluxe…With Clay
Crayon Physics Deluxe was an indie gem. The idea was you’d use the various crayons to draw items, paths, and ramps in order to complete the objective. Much like Claybook, the game’s distinct and striking art-style brought in many players.
Similarly, Claybook seems to be about manipulating the clay of the landscape to your advantage – in the same way you’d ‘draw’ in Crayon Physics, here you’ll ‘sculpt’. A Steam Review by user Mr. Jacobs put it best:
“If Crayon Physics Deluxe were a clay platforming game, it would be this.
The clay reacts like clay should. The addition of the boy controlling the objects add that extra level of immersion that makes for a great time.”
3. ‘Early Access’ Comes With Two Full ‘Books’ and a Massive Level Editor
With split-screen, leaderboards, ‘clay simulation’, two fully-formed worlds to explore, and the ability to share and edit levels between players, Claybook is a pretty robust offering for an Early Access title.
Considering the game is so new, don’t be upset if the custom offerings are a little light in the first few days of release.
Thankfully, the game comes with two pre-made levels to keep you occupied, challenged, and messy while you wait for the community to build out more custom content.
4. Reviews and Impressions Are Positive!
There are currently three steam reviews for Claybook, and all of them recommend the game, strongly:
FabledFupa said: Fun little puzzlegame with amazing artstyle and physics. This game truly pushes the tech further and just playing with the realtime liquids makes one happy. The music and atmosphere is nice and relaxed :) Game has a lot of promise and it comes with and editor for making and sharing your own levels.
Johannes Vuorinen championed the game’s delectable nature: Playing with clay feels super satisfying and smooth. Eating chocolate clay in-game actually makes me hungry for some real chocolate :) It really looks and feels that good.
Meanwhile, the Youtube play-throughs are rolling in with similarly positive vibes, including one that has over 100k views:
Safe to say, the word on the street is good, and that word is growing in volume. As the game grows and continues to involve new gamers (releases on console), and adds more features, it’s entirely possible Claybook could take the world by storm.
5. It Looks Absolutely Incredible
Sometimes a game grabs you and won’t let go. You want to learn more, read all about it, watch all the videos, and after all that, still find yourself mesmerized. For many, it seems Claybook is going to be a game like that.
With the incredible engine that’s rendering ‘clay’ in real-time, to the bright and colorful diorama of the playable worlds, Claybook looks to be one part game, one part toy, and one part show piece.
With the game releasing so recently, seeing such a polished and ready-to-devour game is encouraging and enticing all at once. While there have been ‘clay’ games before like Neverhood and Armikrog and Claymates, Claybook is the first to let you get in there and manipulate the world to heart’s content.
Claybook is currently available for $20 via Steam Early Access, and a console release (which fingers crossed will look just as good) is pending. Stay tuned for more updates, coverage, and a review of the early access build.