Very good adventure game Lair of the Clockwork God is getting a fancypants, Limited Run, physical release on Switch and PS4.
I’m delighted because I’ve got a soft spot for Lair of the Clockwork God. I reviewed it on PC in 2020 and loved it. It’s an adventure game and sometimes a platform game about two characters, Dan and Ben. And they bicker, endlessly. One represents point-and-clicks, and the other, platformers. And they don’t always get along.
It’s relentlessly funny which, I know, is a confrontational thing to say because you’re all like, “yeah but I bet you can’t make me laugh”. But it will. I promise.
And I’m delighted because a boxed release really fits with it thematically. Adventure games are retro. They come from a time of big cardboard boxes and chunky manuals. And so, Limited Run has put it in a big chunky cardboard box and stuffed it with art and posters and soundtracks, and a Grail Diary-style journal covering events before, during and after the game, which sounds neat.
But my favourite addition is the manual, and not because I really love manuals, but because of what Ben Ward and Dan Marshall, the makers of the game, have done with it. You see, Limited Run required them to put a manual in the box but they didn’t specify which game they had to write a manual for. So they made one up. “We’ve written a manual for the wrong game,” Dan Marshall told me today.
“It just didn’t feel within the spirit of the game, which as you know is, uh, let’s say ‘subversive’?” he added. “One of the joys of Clockwork God was that it’s always tugging at the threads of what video games are ‘allowed’ to do, right? It does some unusual stuff. So it just didn’t feel within the spirit of the game to put together a boring four-page insert for the manual when we could make something much more interesting.
“So we made up this fake indie game, and the manual is like just the absolute worst game, made by a developer with no self-control, and how he just keeps adding all these awful, awful fashionable features to this big mess of a game. It’s like a fable, a warning story to indie devs of what unchecked passion can do.”
Marshall said he’s really chuffed to be able to do a physical release at all, because he doesn’t get to do them as an indie developer. “I’ve been making indie games for a long time,” he said, “and when I started, people were hesitant to download games – everything had to come in a box or it wasn’t ‘real’, it wasn’t tangible, you know? And then Steam came along and getting on Steam was a struggle in itself, back when it was a closed system, so having my games up on there was like a badge of honour. And now we’ve come full circle, where doing a Collector’s Edition in a box, in two boxes, no less: it just feels really really special to me as a developer.”
The bumper Limited Run edition of Lair of the Clockwork God, the Collector’s Edition, is $85, whereas the standard boxed release there is $35. There’s no fancy stuff in the latter besides the reversible cover. If you fancy either, you’ve got to get a pre-order in before the end of the month. Here’s a link to the Lair of the Clockwork God collection on the Limited Run site.
Psst, by the way, Lair of the Clockwork God is currently a whopping 75 percent off on Switch until 9th January, reduced to £3.87. Lair of the Clockwork God is also available on Xbox, though there’s no Limited Run physical release for it.