He should have just built a Delorian.
Doc Clock has the dubious distinction of being the worst, most boring, most broken Wiiware game I’ve ever played. My wife, in fact, fell asleep while watching me play it, and I can’t say I wasn’t fighting off the sandman myself. To put it simply, Doc Clock is physics-based puzzle-platformer with a broken physics engine, many annoying bugs, and extremely low production values. It would seem that developer, Stickmen Studios, developed for the wrong system, as well: Doc Clock would at least work better on the iPhone/Touch/Pad or even the DS. Read on if you want, but there’s not a lot more to say than “this game is bad.”
Doc Clock tells the tragic tale of an absent-minded scientist and his irritating talking bag. One fateful day, the good doctor gets the urge to invent a toaster. He does this in the worst way possible and ends up transforming his cat into a cactus. Horrified, the doctor does what any of us would do: build a time machine to undo his error. That works about as well as you’d think, and Doc Clock and his chatty Bag of Holding are thrust forward through time to a world where humans have been eradicated by stupid, stupid robots. The game’s introductory sequence nicely illustrates almost all of the problems you’ll encounter during the main game: sluggish controls, finicky physics, scrolling walls of speech bubbles, and assets drawn by an untalented duck.
The game tasks you with finding your way through each side-scrolling level by using objects found in the environment, either on their own or combined. You pick up these objects with Doc’s shockingly large mechanical arm, the maximum length of which seems to change every time you use it. You can store some objects in Mr. Sack (which is his name), but not important items—like the cab of a vehicle that you have to piece together. No, you get to hold down A (or B) to grasp that item while simultaneously moving forward with the D-pad. This would be better accomplished by a stylus or, on an iOS platform, your index finger. Once you find two items you’d like to combine, it’s a simple matter of sticking them together and hoping for the best. They’ll usually stick together without issue, and a large bridge can be built from smaller pieces of wood. Twisting the Wii Remote allows you to rotate whatever it is you’re holding. Sometimes, though, the pieces will fall apart at an inconvenient moment, like when you’re crossing said bridge—this is clearly a glitch. Should the Doc’s self-made vehicles ever hit something with any kind of force, it tends to fall apart as well.
Thankfully, you have the ability to rewind time in a Braid-like manner. This feature exists solely for the purpose of retrying your failed physics experiments, and it’s actually kind of annoying to do. In Braid, you just hold down a button until you are at a good restart point. Here, you have to bring down a ticker and physically drag (with the pointer) an arrow back to when you want to restart, then click a checkmark. It’s needlessly cumbersome and makes puzzle-solving take longer than it should.
Add to this the fact that certain things just don’t work. In one puzzle, I built a car with a fan. The fan supposedly sped or directed the car in the direction it was facing. Unfortunately, the puzzle had me moving off a cliff to the left, but the exit was to the right, below me. Deadly spikes greeted my descent. Placing the fan on the back of the car forced me farther away from the exit, and onto the spikes. Placing the fan on the front of the car meant that the fan didn’t function, since I had to drive left—and off the cliff—to begin my drop. Theoretically, the fan should kick in and make the car drift right, into the exit, but that didn’t occur. I eventually solved the puzzle in a way the developers probably didn’t intend: my car, upon hitting the spikes, disassembled in such a way that the parts formed a handy bridge across the spikes and into the exit. This is not good design.
Adding insult to injury, the unfunny and only occasionally helpful banter between Doc Clock and Mr. Sack actually obscures your view of the environment (you have to click an “X” button, as in Windows, to make it go away) and you have a very un-fun, chore-like game. Adding insult to injury, the music never changes, and the Doc Clock character has less than ten frames of animation (total). The environments look like they were drawn in Microsoft Paint by a monkey. Avoid Doc Clock at all costs. Your $10 is better spent almost anywhere else.