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About the Story
Win the Steam-Powered Fight for a Nation!
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Full disclosure: I'm a big fan of Banks' games, and I received an advance copy of this game when I told her I wanted to review it.
Clockwork Army is a Choicescript game set in historic Australia, with bits in Britain. The game uses a magic system that the author has developed for some time, including in her gamebook 'It Started When the Flag Fell'. This system is a metal system, a bit reminiscent of the Mistborn system. Different metals have different properties; lead enhances emotions, while the ultra-rare aluminum enhances agility.
The setting is in colonial Australia, with the Australians building up to a revolt against the redcoats. However, this Australia is heavily mechanized in a steampunk fashion. Metal corsets that grant abilities, hybrid animal-machines, and even cloud harvesters abound.
The story revolves around a family that has been scattered across the earth, who are trying to get back together. Like most Choicescript games, you have a choice of gender, name/ethnicity, and romantic interests.
The only other review I've seen of the game so far is on an app store and says it's the worst choice of games game they've ever seen. I suspect that they've only tried the first two (free) chapters, because these mostly consist of setting up the backstory and the magic system. The convolutedness of the magic system ends up requiring a lot of 'As you know...' exposition at the beginning.
But the later chapters are where things really take off. Having just finished The Shadow in The Cathedral by Jon Ingold and Ian Finley, I was hungry for more steampunk/clockwork creatures, and I wasn't disappointed. (Actually, thinking about it now, this game has the same kind of story that I was hoping for in the never-finished sequel to that game).
Anyways, things get heated, and the clockwork creations grow more and more complicated. I think it's impossible to really lose (in the sense of not getting a complete ending), but I did not achieve my character's original goals.
That was one area that I had trouble with: roleplaying the character. I had a sort of pacifist in mind that would always prefer thinking and spying over direct combat, but I found that the game penalized this behavior a few times. Also, my preferred love interest turned out to be taken, but I quickly mended my broken heart and moved on.
The last thing I should mention is that this game and Banks' gamebook contain a great deal of detail about historic Australia. Some people are turned off by this, but I enjoyed it.
Anyways, if you want to get a feel for the game before buying, try the first two chapters, but also see her gamebook I mentioned above to get more of a taste of this setting and magic system.
Alright, I'm bias. I love steampunk and want to see more at it - this is a great story and it promotes something that I love - so I'm giving it 5 stars.
Read it, demand more of it!
As an aside, my love was taken - I spent whole minutes wallowing in the misery of unrequited love
. . . such is life : ) and I have respect for any author who is brave enough to depart from the 'yes every man/woman is available and sexually interested in you' automatic, that aspiring authors (like myself) gravitate to to garner cheap likes
Well done Felicity Banks
Full disclosure - I received a free copy of this game to review. Also Iím Australian.
If you played 80 Days and were disappointed at how little content there was in Australia, then I strongly recommend Attack of the Clockwork Army. The story starts in England, but quickly moves to a Victorian era steampunk Australia.
Blending adventure and action, this local Aussie author paints a fascinating alternate reality Australia complete with all the trappings a fan of steampunk would want and a metal based magic system thrown into the mix. The writing is easy to read with vivid descriptions and reasonably compelling characters.
My only real issue was with one of the interactions in the story. Understanding the limitations of branching narrative, Iím fairly forgiving of choices that result in the same outcome, and indeed the author handles these quite well, but one particular choice at the end had a different problem. I chose what seemed one of the safer options, but it resulted in my sudden and unexpected death, softened only by the fact that I died helping Australia to defeat its British oppressors. Look, I was in the middle of the battlefield, so maybe I should have seen it coming, but still, some options to at least try to dodge or fight off my attacker would have made it feel like a fairer ending.
In spite of this, the story is a very enjoyable romp, well worth the read. It also left me curious to read more. Attack of the Clockwork Army only scratches the surface of this alternate Australia and I hope to see more stories (interactive or otherwise) set there.
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