Review: Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time

Review: Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time

I really did want to like Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time. See, I love me some madness. When time travel and toasted sandwiches oozing with tasty cheese, ham and a good smattering of chicken are combined with the prospect of time travel, that just blows my mind.  It’s a shame the game isn’t anywhere near as tasty as the toasted sandwich you’ll probably go make after fantasizing about it during your adventures within Doc’s crazy world.

It isn’t that Doc Clock is a bad game. In fact, the game has a number of fundamental ideas that are very good indeed. In many ways it reminds me greatly of a hybrid mix of several games, combining together Braid’s time travelling mechanics with Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts’ vehicle creation options and chucking them into a mixing pot with any side-scrolling platformer you’ve played in the past. It’s a recipe that makes one tasty sandwich on paper, but when you go to put it all together the bread comes out mouldy, the cheese is long past its sell-by date and Doc’s Time Travelling sandwich ultimately leaves you feeling unsatisfied.

The main problem that needs immediately addressing with this game is controls. The game supports both regular, Dualshock analogue controls as well as PS Move functionality, and I can tell you right now not to go near this game unless you’ve got a Move controller kicking around your house. I’ve tried both, and while the Move generally allows a good degree of control, using a regular controller is frustrating, annoying and any other synonym you can think of that means irritating. Even the Move controls aren’t that brilliant – often you’ll want Doc to go in a particular direction and the next thing you know you’ll be flying off a cliff to your death after you end up going completely the wrong way. It gets annoying extremely quickly.

Doc Clock

The game itself plays like a traditional side-scroller. Your ultimate aim is to get to the far right of the screen, navigating the various pit falls, enemies and obstacles along the way as you go. The unique mechanic here is that, by collecting various different items scattered throughout the levels, Doc Clock can jam everything together to create a wide variety of crazy-looking vehicles – extremely handy for jumping over big cliffs. It’s an extremely novel idea that works to a degree, but colliding with practically anything in the level will make your vehicle completely come apart, forcing you to rebuild it the best you can. It can also be extremely hard to build a vehicle that’s right for the level, as sometimes without warning the whole thing will change and you’ll have to stop, rejigger your car/bathtub/general mad contraption that surely wouldn’t pass road safety laws and then go on your merry way.

As I mentioned previously, Doc Clock also uses time travel mechanics, allowing you to slink back in time as far as you want and undo anything you’ve done in the level so far. Again, it’s a good idea, but the implementation is extremely off; controlling time in Doc Clock is cumbersome, involving much moving around the screen and it can be extremely hard to select the exact time you want the game to rewind to.  This results in you ultimately feeling like the time travel within the game is a bit of a waste of time that requires more out of you than it should and as I progressed and the levels got harder, I found myself loathing having to constantly rewind my mistakes because my vehicle had decided to implode or because Doc had careened headfirst off the nearest mountain.

Visually, the game looks pretty good. It’s not strikingly, brilliantly beautiful, but it’s not bad either. The loading screens are very drab and white, but Doc and his sidekick keep up a good bit of dialogue during them which is mildly interesting.  Level design is generally quite off – even with all your bells and whistles attached to your latest vehicle contsructed from discarded bathtubs, propellers and wheels, you’ll often find yourself struggling to know where to go as the environment can suddenly dip away without warning while you’re hovering, leading you to fall to your death and have to do a cumbersome time rewind.

Overall, this is a relatively decent platformer that is let down by frustrating mechanics and some cumbersome controls. Worth a go if you’re bored of life.

Score: 6/10

Comments are closed.