Controls:

ActionGame BoyKeyboard
WalkD-PadArrow Keys or WASD
Interact or Next textAAlt, Z or J
Run or Speed up textBCtrl, X or K

A Clockmaker's Tale is an original short story game about a clock maker being tasked with fixing the Grand City clock tower. Since it broke, mysterious things have happened, and you must discover the secrets behind the clocks in order to save the world.

This game was made for the Game Boy Showdown game jam. It was made in one week using GB Studio, GIMP, Tiled and OpenMPT. This game is playable on your Game Boy using the .gb file. It is also playable on your Analogue Pocket using the .pocket file. 

StatusReleased
PlatformsHTML5
Rating
Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars
(3 total ratings)
AuthorRobert Doman
GenreAdventure
Made withGB Studio, Tiled, GIMP
Tags2D, 8-Bit, Game Boy, Homebrew, Pixel Art, Retro, Short, Singleplayer, storygame, Top-Down
Average sessionA few minutes
LanguagesEnglish
InputsKeyboard, Touchscreen, Smartphone
AccessibilitySubtitles

Comments

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Hey there! I found out about your game through one of your videos (on Game Boy Showdown, since I have a recent interest in Game Boy development) and decided to give it a try. :)

Semi on-the-fly remarks:
  1. This may sound silly, but I got stuck for some seconds trying to leave the house. X) Either I am clumsy (which may well be) or the corridor is a bit tight?
  2. Outside: oh, you can move diagonally! I was conditioned by several games to think this would not be possible here. (later: Now, I wonder why these games prevented you from it. Perhaps to avoid collision problems?)
  3. I had read in the comments that the map was somewhat huge, and indeed… getting kind of lost right from the start! XD Then again, I may have poor sense of direction. An often used (dirty?) trick is to block some unused ways, and then only allow passing once you have gained some power/key, or accomplished some action; a less constrained technique would be to use subtle environmental guidance. (later: oh, you are blocked if you try to leave East! Maybe it is better to let the player roam a bit as you did, after all; it was a reasonable amount. :))
  4. Found out now that you can run with the other key.
  5. Side note: the mayor tells me I was quick, but I actually took the time to explore the whose local map. X)
  6. Ah, moving pieces is achieved through punctual press, as opposed to the continuous moving of the character; this caught me off-guard, I took some seconds to realize it. I guess this is for precision purposes, but I think continuous movement would still be manageable for this first puzzle, at least.
  7. Once eastwards, you cannot go back westwards, and once northwards (of the East… :p), you cannot go back southwards: so, apparently, what happens is the contrary of my first impression: to make up for the possibility of the player’s losing his bearings, backtracking is strictly forbidden. This is entirely reasonable for practical reasons, but makes the experience feel more one-track.
  8. A suggestion that crosses my mind: you can inject more gameplay even with simple walking, by having little(?) labyrinths, or Zelda-esque ‘Lost Woods’ sequences. I do not mean to copy the concept, but there is surely some inspiration to draw from it. :)
  9. Second piece puzzle: still rather straightforward, but I already see that the upper piece can block you from moving the long rightward piece; this means there is definitely potential for more intricate such puzzles. Maybe some are already waiting for me?
  10. Taking more time to listen to the success music, this time: I like how this is a sped-up version of the solving music, this reminds me nebulously of various games that apply this technique. :) It does add to the Game-Boyness!
  11. Small detail: I notice that if you are walking while reading a panel, the character keeps on walking; is it expected?
  12. Trying to visit just a bit eastwards of the clock master’s house: oh, I am taken back automatically to go to the house! :o I definitely think some of these constraints may be too visible. Not saying that the compromise between freedom of exploration and not getting the player lost is an easy one, but such a game can surely benefit from a reflection around this point.
  13. Third piece puzzle: I think a way of making the puzzles less straightforward would be to imagine some rules governing the cogs and how one is to join them together, and not have the ‘blueprints’ telling the player where to put the missing pieces. This way, you can have proper (progressive) riddles. :) Or, the places where you can put pieces/cogs are shown, but not which type, and you have to figure out if you should put one that turns leftwards or rightwards so that the mechanism activates something properly, for example. Well, you get the idea!
  14. Ah, I like how the purple plants apparently take over the land! It makes the world feel subtly alive (less static). :) (On a side note, at the beginning of the game, I thought these were giant aubergines rather than a mark of evil. XD)
  15. 4th puzzle: maybe expected, but I notice that the puzzle is considered solved while the final piece (the lower-right cog) is just to the right of its final position; I guess it was moving towards the right place. I am taking it down because I think the pieces were are their final positions in the previous puzzles. (Nothing serious at all, but sometimes, getting such little details help you prevent future huge bugs elsewhere. ;))
  16. Getting the bell: another Zelda-inspired suggestion would be to give specific usefulness to each of the objects you collect. :) I know, easily said once again…
  17. Getting out with the bell: the success music continues; just saying, to be sure this is expected. (Which I guess can be, since this was the last part from the main clock.)
  18. Oh, the South-West lake is unused! I thought crossing it would give you something; for example, it could act as a shortcut. This would make purifying the water more meaningful.
  19. Back to the first zone: clever use of the purple plants; I think they could definitely be used for labyrinth-oriented riddles. Or for example, oriented some wheel to some direction changes where the purple plants are.
  20. 5th riddle: once again, solved while one piece appears just a bit off (the pendulum is a tiny bit downward). Maybe all puzzle were like this, in this case, disregard this. X) Ah, passing some dialogue, it does move a bit more upward!

Takeaway: to me, the whole narration and map is great as a basis for an adventure game; I also think both ideas of repairing clocks and having plants pop up as obstacles have the potential for riddles, and the clock one especially as being distinctly different from what Zelda does. My suggestions of having each object have a specific use may be too close to Zelda, but maybe you can have a twist on this by having each object behave specifically in the clockwork riddles?

In its current state, the game feels as essentially narratively driven (and thus a tale, as the title forebodes), but I feel you already have nice elements to build up upon and get an engaging adventure game that makes you think, while departing from Zelda (because I think originality is paramount, but this is a personal quirk and obsession :p). I do not dare advising linking the clocks to passage of time because of Oracle of Ages and even more Majora’s Mask XD, but hey, maybe you can think of some clever time-related twist(s) to connect even better with the time theme. And finally, getting the map smaller (or scaled to whatever gameplay content you decide) but more packed with riddles/challenges could solve the navigation problem (by having a more autonomous player still figure his way out). I may be wrong, but I tend to think that in general, designing things as just enough to contain the main focus gives an interesting result for the player.

The amount of work for designing the map and all the details must have been something, this game could surely go somewhere if you extend it! Do not be too harsh on yourself, I see such experiments as useful to enhance them and possibly enhance yourself in the process. :)

Thank you so much for such an extensive experience breakdown! This is invaluable to developers!
I completely agree with you on most points, unfortunately I gave myself a week to concept and create the entire game so there are some very obvious flaws. If I ever remake this game or create a sequel, I will definitely take into consideration everything you have said here.
Thank you again, so so so much!

(1 edit) (+1)
This is invaluable to developers!

I figured by commenting in game jams where I had a massive amount of testing to achieve that having a semi-log + semi-test was both quicker and still appreciated by the creators, so this became my standard way of reviewing. :) … Although I may have slowly turned to writing down more things, which ends up taking even more time. XD Anyway, it is worth it!

unfortunately I gave myself a week to concept and create the entire game so there are some very obvious flaws.

I knew the context, and it is obvious to me that a short game jam game does not have to hold up to the same standard as a game that was given months of development; actually, that is partly why I am always thinking ‘How could the game be extended?’ for such games. :)

Thank you again, so so so much!

Thank you for the game and thank you for your videos and the love for Game Boy. :) The whole ‘Game Boy revival’ and the concept of having even more freedom through creating physical cartridge/flashcart games really appeals to me (even though I am trying to be versatile), your contributions are a part of it, and you surely helped way more people with your extensive work than my little quibbling written down on a cosy Friday evening. ;) Criticism is easy but art is difficult. (… That is a French proverb, not sure if it also exists in English. XD)

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I knew what i will find if i start playing because it has a Robert Doman stamp. Nice art. Neat gameplay. Cool music. And you delivered!!! Another one for your portfolio. Rated & enjoyed. I don't think you might need it ; but if you continue developing the game & need some puzzle, i'm here. Peace.

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I'm glad you enjoyed it though. If I were to expand it I think I would need your help with puzzles! Your Rewind Time game is really good, the puzzle design is fantastic!

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A big thank you. My english is not that good. I prepared a quest for you without reading well the "if" part. So it's ready, if you use or not, that's not a problem for me. I could sent it to you by dm.

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I would love to see what you put are thinking!

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Hy. I just dm'ed you on twitter.

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ohhh so cute, so fun! loved it, beautiful art!

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Really glad you liked it! Thank you for playing!

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How you did all this in 7 days is mind boggling. Great job and great game. I thought it was a really unique concept. 

Thank your for playing and making a video, it was really fun! 
Regarding the map size, on the way back from each clock tower there are shortcuts, but you only took about 50% of them and you didn't seem aware of them which was interesting, but the fact I made it in 7 days meant I wasn't able to test it on anyone to see how effective they were. I'm glad the large map overall made it feel more like a complete game though!
Thank you for playing!

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Very sweet game, loved it. Congratulations. The art is great and the clock fixing is enagaging. This could definately be developed into something larger.

Thank you so much! Really glad you liked it

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Thanks for joining the jam and making such a great game in only 7 days.
*And this map is huuuuge! :o

Thank you for your kindness! Although the map seemed big, I hope it wasn't too overwhelming or hard to navigate?

The readable signs really helped to find the right path!

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Cool game! I don't think I've seen a mechanic like the clock fixing in a Game Boy game before. Fun and unique.

The map felt huge. There is a lot of walking, so I'm glad there was a run button to help. Is there a way to make the run constant, instead having to keep tapping it?

Good luck in the jam!

Thank you! I'm glad you felt the map was huge and the mechanics unique! Regarding constant running, I made it not constant so you have to keep tapping it. I wanted you feel more stressed and add urgency to the game because it is pretty lacking otherwise.

Makes sense. I thought that might be the case. It's more interactive that way and fits the jam's theme.

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Unfortunately, I won’t be able to vote for this because I didn’t start on Jam, but I really wanted to, but unfortunately I’m working on something else. But I really like your idea, Max is right, it could be one like Prof. Layton games, because you can do it smoothly! :) Skillful, 5/5.

Thank you for playing, I'm glad you liked it!

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I like this. Good music. Cool premise. I like the idea of being a clock maker and fixing clocks. I think the activity of fixing the clocks themselves is fun

I’dlike to see this game develop more after the jam. Some things that would be fun: Maybe make the story a little different. Especially would like it to start small, like you’re just fixing people’s clocks and watches and then there’s a mystery

Also, I like fixing the clocks and I think it would be fun to have some brainteasing or puzzle elements to add some challenge

Overall, I think this could really become a full game 

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Thank you playing, I'm really glad the premise was fun! 
I completely agree with everything you said. I would have loved to make some stronger puzzle mechanics, the idea of starting small and fixing small things would work great with that.

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Erster! Werde es mir direkt ziehen! Ich liebe deine Spiele! 🍻

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I'm glad you like my games!