FCM Issue 62 – Review – Clone Wolf

Clone Wolf: Protector is part 2D platformer and part tower defense. Originally created in less than 48 hours as a Ludum Dare submission in 2011, Jaroslav Meloun (aka Jarnik) has since expanded it into a full game with eleven levels and ten bosses spanning five environments.

Story
You play as Wolf, a (bearded) carpenter who lost his family and entire village, inspiring him to begin his journey to protect others. Throughout his travels, Wolf meets plenty of helpful citizens that aid him during his quest to defeat the monsters that plague their villages. It is a straightforward story of a hero on a quest with plenty of comical bits and classic references thrown in. The jokes are well timed and well placed, alluding to the classics without overt mockery or trite, which is refreshing to see.

Gameplay
For those familiar with the concept and gameplay of Braid, getting used to the mechanics of cloning Wolf will be a breeze. Other players may feel a little clumsy trying to maneuver numerous clones around for the first time, but the controls are simple enough to get used to quickly.

You can use the cloning powers of the magical medallion to help Wolf to reach higher places, simultaneously fight incoming hordes from both sides of the screen, and target the weak points of the bosses that you encounter. Wolf’s wood-crafting skill is a nice touch that allows you to rebuild damaged houses and construct palisades to keep your foes at bay. This works pretty well most of the time, but there are moments when you’re better off hacking at the enemy rather than trying to build or rebuild.

Graphics
The game was built on the Flixel engine and runs via Flash which provides a (mostly) smooth, glitch-free experience on Ubuntu 12.04. During the first playthrough there was an instance of unresponsive keys in full-screen mode, but it seems to have been an isolated incident.

The pixel style graphics are appropriately complemented by a nice chiptune soundtrack by Fuxoft. There isn’t a lot of variation to the environments other than a few changes in color scheme and minor details. But this isn’t a huge deal as the pacing of the game requires you to focus on controlling your clones rather than the scenery.

Overall, Clone Wolf: Protector is a clever hybrid of side-scrolling platformer and tower defense goodness – with a story that is as fun as the gameplay. Clone Wolf is part of the Indie Underdog Pack Bundle, along with four other DRM-free games for just $3.99. You can also purchase it on Desura or direct from Jarnik’s site: http://www.jarnik.com/1062-clone-wolf-protector.

Pros

  • fun, addictive gameplay
  • good graphics and soundtrack
  • humorous twist on a classic plot

Cons

  • fairly short, can be completed quickly
  • environments lack some variety

4/5

Full Circle Magazine Issue 62 – June 2012

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