With the advent of Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays a veritable feast of bite-sized gaming is now going to be drip fed to us for the next few weeks via Marketplace. Hopefully this will mark the beginning of a semblance of order in the Arcade’s release schedule which up until now has been patchy and inconsistent. I shouldn’t bitch, though, we are finally getting some new non-fish games.
First up was Frogger and next up is Galaga but lying in between these two classics is a title that has intrigued me, a little game known as Cloning Clyde.
Cloning Clyde is a platformer, the first pure platformer on Arcade, and as with all games they have to have something to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Well in this game Clyde is the crowd, he’s stumbled upon a scientific lab and been cloned many, many times leaving you with an horde of Clydes all looking for a means of escape.
I’ll be honest from the start, Cloning Clyde does not excel at being a platform game. After being treated to the delights of Super Mario in recent weeks the platforming elements of this new release have left me sighing at the screen. They’re “not bad” but when have you ever heard that being a ringing endorsement; level design is simple and there are so far very few challenging set pieces.
Things are compounded by you ability to control the slippery feeling Clyde. He is armed with the ever-popular double-jump but in the air he feels floaty and unresponsive.
Not looking good so far, is it? What saves this game, though, is its heavy emphasis on using multiple Clydes to complete the level. As you travel through the environment switches, levers and machines need to be operated and luckily you have your clone army at your disposal for just those occasions. Admittedly it’s not exactly brain science what has to happen as the switches are very rarely hidden or off the main route through the level but keeping sixteen Clydes alive is definitely more interesting than keeping one so.
To add further twists you can splice your DNA with that of chickens, frogs and dynamite to give you extra powers but none are utilised enough to lift the game into the upper echelons of platforming greatness. Instead Cloning Clyde is a solid if unspectacular adventure providing an interesting set of features and mechanics for the user to mess around with for short stints. If you have a few hundred points lying on your account then this may be worth the investment as it does offer value for money.
Despite my less than positive reaction to the game I think releases like Cloning Clyde and its Ninja Bee stable mate Outpost Koloki are what Xbox Live Arcade should primarily be about. They are fresh ideas and new IPs compared to the string of remakes and rehashes. It seems that with the up coming slew of ports Microsoft is hoping to ape Nintendo’s upcoming virtual console but I sincerely hope that new titles will still be visible amongst the sea of 16-bits.