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Community Article: Indie Insights - Lair of the Clockwork God

Written by John Edwards

A long time ago, games were a lot simpler to make and could be done by one person in their bedroom. This also meant that they often directly reflected the personality and sense of humour of the people making them. As games became more complex they also became a little more homogenised, a little less distinct from each other.

One of the advantages of indie games is the flexibility to deviate from the mainstream and bring back some experiences that modern gaming can't afford to risk their enormous budgets on. Lair Of The Clockwork God is the most British game I have played since I owned an Astrad CPC 464.

I don't mean British in the wave the flag, Rule Britannia kind of way. I mean in the Skool Daze kind of way. The language and humour in this game are so distinctively familiar to my general experience of living in the UK that the game should be presented to people coming to live in this country as a handy guide as to what to expect from conversations.

Lair Of The Clockwork God features Ben and Dan as your playable duo. Dan delights in being an indie platformer, leaping around with nods, winks and gentle elbows in the side of many beloved tropes of the genre.

Ben, on the other hand, is resolutely in a point and click adventure game and refuses to have any truck with that jumping lark. It's through him you'll solve most puzzles and chat your way to victory. At a push he will piggyback on Dan, but would much rather saunter through the level picking up anything that's not stuck down.

It's surprising how well the two disparate genres mesh and you can feel echoes of The Lost Vikings type of games, where the characters' different abilities come in useful in different places.

After a short segment in a rain forest where you'll get to grips with Ben and Dan, you find that several Apocalypses are happening at once. To avert the end of the world you need to help an apparently sentient computer.

It is probably best to not know much more than that. There are moments in the game which had me grinning at the audacity of the lengths the game would go through for a joke. The dialogue is sharp throughout and often laugh out loud funny.

It is worth noting there's a reason the game has an 18 rating and that's often why it's so funny. But even when it's veering towards 'schoolboy' humour, there's a sense of intelligence and empathy behind it that elevates the jokes further.

Lair Of The Clockwork God has a third gaming genre included as you get Devil's Kiss too, a visual novel game telling the story of when Ben and Dan first met.

It was during Devil's Kiss that I had my biggest laugh and feeling of great respect for the devious minds behind the game.

There are things in Lair Of The Clockwork God which may be called meta, but really everything you encounter is almost certainly there to make you laugh. There are a number of things that are certainly not what they initially seem and the payoffs are consistently worth it.

Incidentally, the game features achievements which is particularly unusual for the Switch, but again, like many other things in this game, there's a satisfying reason for their inclusion.

Lair Of The Clockwork God is probably the funniest game that has come out this year and so distinctively British it should probably have a Royal warrant slapped on it. Any game where the options for quitting are "Nah mate" or "Yeah deffo" is worthy of your time.