Apr 15, 2013
Trial of the Clone is an innovative game that reminds us of the days before the interactive computer adventures of today. It is a joke-laden choosable path narrative (remember those?) that combines zany humor with some awesome Kickstarter roots.
To understand this game, a little bit more of its history is helpful. Cue up the name Zachary Weinersmith and the underground hit comic strip Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Fan clamor led to a Kickstarter effort for the action book; to give you an idea of how popular the project was, it blew through it’s initial funding goal of $15,000 by a factor of more than eight (8). So, with the book out (laced with art from Chris Jones), a collaboration with Android developer Tin Man happened, and bam! We get the game.
The humor started with the option to select difficulty at the beginning. It was possible to “just be honest with yourself” (easy) or “play like you’re not a sniveling coward” (regular). The latent challenge made me smile.
The storyline revolved around the adventures (or misadventures) of a young interestingly conceived orphan and the gameplay involved making decisions. Just like in the books of this genre, selecting any one path jumped you to that page in the game. I thought the illustrations fit will with the attitude of the book, and the transitions flowed surprisingly well. The dialogue was, in a word, hilarious. Orphanage philanthropy to wiener dog healthcare just made for some really funny readings, and the voice-overs added to the giggly atmosphere. The place names were whimsical-sounding tongue twisters — Skilene Monastery at Skubnuti Prime — and the game did well to be good without taking itself too seriously.
I thought some of the book was a bit, well, salty, but this is listed clearly in the game’s description.. I think it will also help to have a somewhat dark sense of humor to get and enjoy some of the points, but as far as adventures go, this was a breath of fresh air.
If the romantic history of the game doesn’t pull you in, do it for you.