The Last Clockwinder Review (PSVR2) – Virtual reality and puzzle games are a good combination, but puzzle games that take advantage of virtual reality are even better. With no shortage of games to pick up for your new PSVR 2 headset, Pontoco‘s The Last Clockwinder certainly makes a strong case for being one that you cannot skip.
The Last Clockwinder Review (PSVR 2) – A Delightful VR Puzzler With A Touching Story
A Sight To Behold
The Last Clockwinder sees you stepping into the shoes of Jules, the titular hero. From here, you’ll locate the gloves needed to copy your actions, and create clones will set you on your way. What is required of you, physically, is fairly simple in those small beginnings.
Picking fruit, combining them into the correct structure (if required), depositing the fruit into the processing bin and watch the numbers increase. Rinse and repeat. Naturally, however, you will need the clones to create an automated process.
Select the amount of seconds you will want your clones to copy your actions for, performing said actions, and then moving onto the next cog in the proverbial machine, until you have created a well oiled production line. Taking a step back to see your efforts being played out to success never gets old.
The way everything comes together like clockwork is a sight to behold. Ironically, tending to the steampunk infused tree that these farms exist in, clockwork is indeed the goal.
As you progress, more and more production lines are required, whether that be for more fruit, or for the seeds that grow the fruit. Unique physics or requirements are introduced for each new level. A slingshot like orb of dew, or balloon like fruit that can’t be held, only loosely directed; those of which I found to be the most challenging.
The diversity in the machinations for each puzzle keep things fresh for its roughly five hour runtime, and because you’re onto a new type, or a new formulae in the next level, it never gets frustrating, and it always feels fun to figure out. Not to mention, that feeling of satisfaction only increases as the production line becomes more and more complex.
With each spin of the globe, and pull of the lever, the previous stage falls away, and a new one takes its place, like an elevator changing floors. All the while, your clones continue to work, suspended in the same 1-4 seconds you left them in, steadily increasing the fruit output.
Being able to return to that stage, at any time, and see them performing that rhythmic work flow is simple, yet impressive. Of course, there are goals for fully optimising the throughput of fruit production, at a minimum usage of clones to offer more challenge to the existing puzzles.
It’s worth noting that you can delete your clones at the press of a button if you’re unhappy with their performance, so to speak. These clones don’t get paid enough.
The Last Clockwinder tells the story of a young apprentice who finds her way back to this mechanical yet magical tree. At face value, it may seem like a mostly fantasy, storybook type narrative, that might be best likened to something you might see in a Studio Ghibli movie, but there really is more to it than that.
Underneath that fantastical exterior, lies a story of self discovery, and finding your place in the world, or universe in this context. Whilst the story is disappointingly limited to being told through recordings and radio conversations, there is still a warmth to it, like the first cup of hot cocoa in winter.
Whilst you only ever hear from three characters in your time of tending to the mechanical failures of a tree stranded in an ocean, all of them are brought to life by good voice work. The gentle piano-led, often whimsical soundtrack, hums away in the background, that perfectly fits thematically with the rest of the game.
This pleasant VR puzzler sports a simplistic art style, that isn’t going to blow you away, but the wooden structures, and furniture found within the tree, feel homey, and lived in. The entire game takes place within the tree, with only the stages changing, but that works in making the role of the Last Clockwinder feel important.
A Wonderful And Charming Experience
The replay value in The Last Clockwinder can be found in optimising your automated assembly lines. On multiple occasions, I jumped back into previous stages to see if I find a way to use one less clone, or get one more completed recipe into the processor.
The Last Clockwinder is a wonderful, charming, and fun game that only feels possible in VR. Watching an entire factory of what is essentially yourself, perform a rhythmic workflow is hugely rewarding. Passing fruit to yourself to catch, combine, and then perfectly throwing the completed structures into a processor, all feels so satisfying because of VR.
Even now, I’m thinking about ways to optimise my clones. It’s such an easy game to lose hours to. Not to mention having run into precisely zero technical hiccups, or frustrations, makes The Last Clockwinder even easier to recommend.
The Last Clockwinder is now available on PS5 and PSVR 2.
Review code kindly provided by publisher.