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Blitz 1Up Clover - A Curious Tale review

Kat Orphanides
4 Apr 2010
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clover
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
5.95
inc VAT

Clover is a masterpiece of indie game design, avoiding the usual clichés to produce a warm and compelling gaming experience.

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Developed by a small British indie games studio, Clover is a platform puzzle adventure. Rather than running and jumping everywhere, you must solve adventure-game-style puzzles using objects that you'll find strewn around the land. The protagonist is a teenage boy named Sam, whose usual hobbies involve drinking cider in the woods with his mates and reading the latest Grand Theft Equine book. As the game opens, Sam is told that his mother has been killed in an attack on her ship by a neighbouring country and instructed to find remains of the shipwreck.

You're immediately thrown in at the deep end - as soon as Sam leaves home, he has to choose between letting a neighbour's house burn down or getting arrested in an attempt to save it. Getting locked up is a commonplace event, with no major effects other than creating a handy save point.

You can get sent to gaol for a lot of things in the land of Sanha, thanks to stringent laws against anything remotely resembling dissident activity. Sam is soon up to his neck in a web of intrigue as it becomes obvious that the King is using deception to draw the country into an unjust war. Political allegory and computer games are potentially uneasy bedfellows, but here message and game blend perfectly.

We loved the watercolour backgrounds, gorgeous piano music and outstanding voice acting. The cartoony character design and animation look a little rudimentary by comparison, but their quirky charm soon grew on us. The puzzles are complex, involving long sequences of objects and solutions that aren't always immediately obvious. A rope that looks like it should be part of a lifting device can just as easily become a tightrope.

The game isn't perfect. For instance, you can accidentally solve a puzzle without ever finding out what it was by simply interacting with the right character while the correct item is in your inventory. However, we were captivated by the game's wit, charm and depth. At less than £6, we can't think of a single good reason not to buy Clover.

Details

Price£6
Detailswww.blitz1up.com
Rating****

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