Looking at The Watchmaker, I was thinking it was going to be clock-oriented. I was right! But that's when the rocky road began setting that watchman, er, watchmaker...
You are Alexander, a nightmarish looking human living in this weird clockworld. The clocks you made are now acting all weird, and time itself is ready to kill you by rapidly aging you. You must stop it...and possibly those behind it happening. As a premise, it's interesting and definitely unique. There were problems with it when time would do stuff to my age, that kinda went against the story, but then it made sense and – it could get complicated at times, but overall, it's not bad.
The overall layout of the game reminded me of those classic N64-PS2 games for tweens – hug maps, weird characters, unusual graphics. And controls reflected that. On the PC, there were some unusual choices – I had trouble moving around at times, but that was a mix of controls and world layout. It take a hot minute, but controls work fine.
Graphics in The Watchmaker are very cartoonish. At best, it reminds me of, again, tween games from the PS2 era. At worst it's horrifying. Like, the world looks good. It's very steampunk-ish, and little details like steam and lighting effects really flesh it out. But some of the designs look like they were last minute. Alexander in particular is a horror fest – you can virtually see how wire-framed he is, and he's amazingly grotesque for a character they were apparently trying to make likable. A real mixed bag here.
Gameplay is the same. It's puzzle based (most notably to bring back time so you don't die), but there's also fighting with a Tony Stark energy glove thing. You have slow motion solving abilities too. It has so much it wants to do, that it almost falls on what it wants to do. Everything is times thanks to your time winding down, so you'll fail. A lot. There's a reason that time management games are going away, and it's never more obvious than with The Watchmaker. It all feels rushed, and you don't get to enjoy some of the really beautiful scenery sometimes.
Music can be described as both 'Dreamlike' and 'Limited', but some of it is also 'adventurous' and 'orchestral'. No matter what's playing, or if the soundtrack is non-existent or limited, it all works. Sounds are good too. It's what you would expect from a steampunk game. Your character does have this metal rattling sound that gets a bit grating. There's also the characters voices, but those are nowhere near that level. They pop up and keep going without prompt. They're supposed to be there explaining things and helping out, but for me, I was trying to play and they were talking about a bunch of inane things. It was more of an annoyance. It tried to be funny and profound, but it almost turned into background chatter.
The overall frame rate wasn't bad – it got choppy at parts, but nothing that made it stand out too, too badly. I didn't encounter any major glitches either, unless you count completely messing up a few times because I was just outside the designated area to do something and nothing alerted me.
All in all, The Watchmaker was an OK game, but had nothing really set it apart. It's a game that never fully figured out what it wants to do. There are puzzles, but you also fight a lot. It's playing like Portal until it suddenly goes Prince of Persia. It looks beautiful, but if you look closer, there are some ugly spots. It's well made, but then you see how clunky it can be. There's too much and too little going on.
Final Score: 6 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.