Clover: A Curious Tale

Imagine a world in which a war was being waged that didn’t need to be fought. A world in which people are losing loved ones while those in charge stand by and watch it happen, attempting to justify their actions which many know to be wrong. Now imagine that in that world there exists a game that takes that as its central theme and presents it to you in a beautifully realised watercolour way. Then you have Clover: A Curious Tale.

Clover: ACT is an updated version of the Xbox Indie game. Everything from the Xbox version – which, itself, was brilliant – has been improved upon. The script is longer, there are more puzzles, the musical score has been tweaked and the graphics polished. The dialogue is now spoken as well as written and everything is just different enough to throw you out of complacency if you’ve played the original version.

Clover: ACT is a side-scrolling adventure in the style of the old Dizzy games. You pick up objects along the way which will help you to solve puzzles which, in turn, help you to uncover the great conspiracy at the heart of the story. The only downside I have found in the new version is that you’re only told what the items are when you pick them up the first time. If you weren’t paying that much attention when you collected them you may be stuck not really knowing what you’re holding – an awkward situation at the best of times!

Where Clover comes alive is in the presentation. The watercolour landscape you’ll traverse is a thing of beauty, while the delicate piano score carries you along through each screen and you’ll find yourself waiting for the music to start each time you load the game, knowing that you’ll be humming along within minutes. While things have had a bit of spit and polish since the original version, everything still retains the same hand-produced charm as before and the picture gallery which you’ll find, bizarrely, on a washing line outside the church shows how much love and care have gone into producing the game world.

The gameplay revolves around the puzzle solving. Presented with a problem you encounter in the game world, you’ll have to solve it using the items you’ve found on your travels. A man with a stubborn horse, for example, is just crying out for a carrot and a stick – finding those items is your key to a quick travel system which saves time going from town to town. Not all the puzzles are that simple, or as obvious to solve, and there will be a huge element of head-scratching along the way (damn you, short-sighted arms dealer).

The speed with which you polish off Clover: ACT will depend on how quickly you get your head around the puzzles on offer, and how much time you spend just enjoying the experience. With four endings to get to, each determined by the actions you take during the game, there’s plenty of scope for replaying the game and, while you’ll know what to expect, each play through is as enjoyable as the next. And, like a fruit gum that you can’t help but chew, I bet you end up sharing this game with someone while you’re playing. It’s that sort of experience: a social single-player and that can’t be a bad thing.







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