Developed by Dinosaur Bytes and published by Numskull Games, Clive ‘N’ Wrench is a brand-new 3D platformer that has been in development for the past 10 years. This is because the full game has been developed by a solo developer named Rob Wass who has devoted a lot of time to this project. After numerous delays, now we finally have the official release of Clive ‘N’ Wrench and we can play this brilliant nostalgic 3D platformer. This is our review of the PS5 version of Clive ‘N’ Wrench where we explore different eras and collect some watches to restore the timeline.
Clive ‘N’ Wrench features the rabbit Clive and his monkey friend called Wrench who travels on his back all the time. The time-space continuum is in danger thanks to the nefarious Dr. Daucus and it is up to Dr. Nancy, Clive’s cousin along with Clive and Wrench to save everything. During your journey, you will travel through different unique worlds, each set in a different timeline as you time travel using a 1950s refrigerator. Sticking true to the platforming genre, you will have different moves at your disposal to move around each level. Clive can jump, double jump, and swing Wrench around like a fan in order to glide through the air. Apart from this, Clive can also stomp, perform a huge jump by crouching first and even drop down on all fours to sprint. When it comes to movement, Clive has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and you will be using everything to move around in the game.
To access different levels of the games, there is a central hub area where all of the different levels are connected. Once you have collected enough Ancient Stones and unlocked additional levels, you can access them from this central hub. The training area can also be accessed from this location. Each of the levels represents a different timeline so each level has its own unique theme and they are completely different from each other. There are no time restrictions for completing these levels or any sort of reward for speedrunning through them. But you do get different collectibles that you can find and collect in these levels to progress in the game. One of the main collectibles of the game is the Ancient Stones. These are hidden in secret locations while some are given to you as a reward after solving a puzzle or completing a side quest.
These Ancient Stones unlock more levels and boss fight arenas for you in the central hub. Apart from the Ancient Stones, you can collect hidden keys to unlock the treasure chest and explore every nook and cranny of the watches. There are different types of watches and depending on their rarity, they will give a different score to your total.
As you explore each level, you will need to hit some switches, complete some side quests, and stomp on some buttons which will open shortcuts, and new areas, or just change something in the level to make it easier to move around or explore new areas. There are no fixed objectives for each level, and you just have to explore around, collect items, open new paths, and complete side quests in order to completely restore the timeline.
The levels in Clive ‘N’ Wrench are a visual treat for everyone and I especially loved exploring all of the different environments and levels of the game. Each level is huge in the game with a lot of different layers, up, down, inside buildings, sewers, mountain tops, and whatnot. There are tons of areas at every level that you can explore. Each level does not limit you too much when it comes to exploration however sometimes you will need to flip a switch and complete a specific task before accessing another area.
This keeps you glued to the screen as you try to explore some areas you may have missed before, so it makes exploration actually worthwhile. Sometimes, you will meet different NPCs in the game as well which will ask for your help in different things so there are side quests in each level as well. Unfortunately, there is no audio dialogue in the game, and everything just speaks in a mumbled voice but then again, it reminds me of the era it takes its inspiration from.
The levels range from exploring houses, castles, medieval cities, ancient China, pirate-infested levels, desert cities, and whatnot. Each level looks gorgeous and has immense details and cool easter eggs for you to explore. The different areas of each level are connected with different paths and sometimes you can open further shortcuts between these levels as well. There are a lot of enemies and other hazards in each level which is according to the theme of each level.
You get a limited amount of life and if you hit these enemies or they attack you with a projectile, you will lose health. For saving your progress, there are checkpoints at various locations in each level and if you die, you will respawn at these locations. If you complete a level and return back to it, all of the collectibles that may have been collected in the previous playthroughs do not respawn in the game. You can collect the ones you missed however you will need to unlock all of the shortcuts again.
The visual art style of Clive ‘N’ Wrench very strongly reminds you of the PS1-era 3D platformers like Spyro, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and other games of the same era. They are nothing to boast about but the overall art style of Clive ‘N’ Wrench instantly takes you back to the early 2000s. The character designs, animations, special effects and everything else feels pretty dated as well. While some players who love visual fidelity might have a problem with the visuals but if you love retro titles, you will love the aesthetic sense and design of the game. I am happy that the developer decided to go for a more raw visual design since it greatly benefits the overall presentation of the game. The same can be said about the sound design of the game. You will hear unique themes for all levels along with some basic sounds for different actions and there is no dialogue of any sort in the game.
Clive ‘N’ Wrench is a fun 3D platformer and there is a lot to like about the game however there are some things that keep this platformer from achieving its full potential. One of the most annoying bits of the game is its camera. One, it is really slow to move it around, and second, in some areas, it just goes inside different objects, especially in areas where it gets locked to one angle, and you cannot even move it around anymore. In this situation, you are stuck looking at the back of the object which comes your way. You need some time to get used to the camera system of the game and even then, it is not always on your side.
Because of this slow camera, it sometimes becomes really difficult to see the area and spot incoming enemies. There were various instances during my playthrough where the enemy would just suddenly appear in my frame, and I was unable to spot them before since the camera takes forever to move in the third-person mode. Apart from this, the controls are not quite as tight and precise if we compare Clive ‘N’ Wrench with some of the modern platformers. While this is not something that truly breaks the game but if these two things can be further tweaked, Clive ‘N’ Wrench can be one of the best platformers currently available in the market because the overall vibe of the game is amazing.
Considering the fact that Clive ‘N’ Wrench has been developed by a solo developer, the end result is an amazing adventure. The level design is just brilliant and the whole visual aesthetics and gameplay mechanics take you instantly back to the PS2 era. Fix the camera and tighten up the controls a bit, and you will have one of the best 3D platformers in your hands today in the form of Clive ‘N’ Wrench. The story is exactly like what you would expect from a typical 3D platforming villain story and nothing to boast about but the levels are amazing and the fun factor of just exploring them is really high. If you were looking for a decent platformer that reminds you of the PS2 era of games, Clive ‘N’ Wrench is the title for you. Highly recommended for players who love platformers, simple exploration titles, and overall fans of fun and retro-inspired titles.
Final Score: 8.0/10