One of the biggest complaints gamers have about modern titles is that everything seems to be the same. And sometimes this is literally the case. Whether it is endless sequels or a wave of “clones” of the latest concept, video gaming is dominated by the “what’s hot now” variety of product. That is amazing considering how long it takes to make a game – as well as how much it costs.
If you’re truly looking for people who are pushing the edge of development and looking for the next great concept then you have to check our indie games. Combining elements of a puzzle game, platformer, and action-adventure title, The Watchmaker from the devs Micropsia Games and publishers 1C Entertainment, is just such an innovative title.
It has platforming elements that are reminiscent of the old Sega Saturn Clockwork Knight while incorporating time travel and action adventure like The Prince of Persia series. Of course, The Watchmaker takes cues from modern games as well but we couldn’t escape the odd feeling of “been there, done that” which accompanied The Watchmaker’s general approach. It’s a classic feeling game and one that is solidly built upon its foundations, but it is, nonetheless, a creative if not confusingly psychedelic game.
As Alexander, you explore a steampunk world of gears the size of houses as you unravel the mysteries of time. This involves puzzle solving but also some combat here and there. Bringing together puzzle solving and action-adventure gameplay is nothing new, but The Watchmaker’s inclusion of so many varied elements that work is a true testament to its willingness to experiment with known genres.
Gameplay and controls are tight, responsive, intuitive, and dynamic. Alexander handles well and does more or less what you want him to do. The devs have made stages and puzzles integrated in a very seamless way. This means the game isn’t broken up into mini-segments such as “action adventure” portion then puzzle then exploration then repeat. The game integrates it all into one coherent package that will make you question whether or not this is an indie title.
Where The Watchmaker truly shines is in its graphical presentation and the dreamscape world it has created in the process. That’s the best way to describe The Watchmaker’s graphics: Dreamlike.
This is because gears are oversized and hovering above, stages are both horizontal and vertical in nature, and colors, shapes, and angles combine to make each stage like an Escher painting. Think a combination of the world as seen in Super Mario Galaxy with what the devs were trying to do with the Sega Saturn title Sonic Xtreme and you get some idea of the world and how you interact with it.
That’s The Watchmaker’s greatest strength: It evokes triple-A sentiments while rooting itself firmly in the indie category. The only problem with this is that it attempts to do a lot of things at once. Some things it does well, others it falls flat somewhat – it really just depends on the gameplay segment. Resulting in an uneven experience, The Watchmaker’s ambitious scope helps it stand out in an already crowded field of puzzle/action games. We recommend it because it is not only a solid game but it is a concept that needs to be nurtured and rewarded.