If I really wanted to be lazy, I could summarize my review for Tin Man Games’ newest app Trial of the Clone like this: Buy the damn thing- NOW.
Maybe I will stop there. It IS easier being a badsider, after all. So, here’s a picture instead:
. . .
I’ve just been informed that I cannot, in fact, stop there, so let me continue by saying Zach Weinersmith is a seriously deranged individual, and that his mixture of style parody, extreme violence, and occasional drug use make Trial of the Clone perhaps one of the most darkly humorous things I’ve ever read.
While funny, the game itself can be unforgivingly difficult, and deaths are frequent, and occasionally arbitrary. I wouldn’t have it any other way, as this IS a gamebook, and making the “wrong” choice has always led to extreme consequences. What makes it even better in this case is that the REASONS for the deaths are so over the top. For instance, I once made a choice (which had to do with making fun of Carrie Fisher) which led to the narrator telling me I was dead, just because, and something to do with mocking his childhood. Great stuff. I also died because I chose to take part in a certain sexual encounter (do I need to note again that this app isn’t for kids?), and that the strain killed me. The best part? The end quote was basically- yeah, you died, but you died in a 5-way… so, you lose, I guess? In most gamebooks, you really want to avoid the bad endings. During Trial of the Clone, I actively sought them out since they were so entertaining in their own right.
Once again, the folks at Tin Man Games have done a fantastic job converting the gamebook to a digital format. The game features a specially composed soundtrack, and some great color artwork by Chris Jones. The pictures are few and far between, but they do serve to break up text nicely. Since the Gamebook Adventures dice rolling mechanic wouldn’t really work with Zach Weinersmith’s combat system, a nice interface was created where touch sensitive “tumblers” provide the random numbers needed to resolve a conflict. Once again, the app does a great job of keeping track of inventory and skills (although I’m STILL not quite sure what difference the weapon I carried seemed to make… I know the differences were described, they just didn’t seem to influence the combat that much). The bookmark system came in really handy, especially this time, and I liked the fact that the game automatically saved at the beginning of each new chapter. Best of all, the game features narration from Wil Wheaton himself. In a funny move, the option to turn this feature on or off requires you to tape his animated avatar’s mouth shut.
Achievement hunters should rejoice as well. There are numerous goodies to collect during the adventure, most having to do with finding terrible jokes, puns, and one liners during your misadventures.
If I haven’t made it abundantly clear, go spend your $3.99 at one of the following: iOS App Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore, or Nook Apps. Do it now. Purchasing Trial of the Clone, much like its hero, is a no-brainer.