The hidden object game concept can head in the wrong direction before you even uncover that first item, but The Clockwork Man does more right then most.
Saturday morning cartoons have better stories while decent voice acting does its best to cover for terrible writing. Having said that, I prefer a weak story over simple item hunts and even recognized at least one voice actor from the adventure game Scratches. Story mode took me exactly 3 hours to finish and upon completion allowed me to play each scene on it's own. Every story sequence can be skipped, but I chose to sit through and see how it played out.
Artwork can make or break a hidden object game and Clockwork succeeds here on most accounts. Sure, piles of junk fill many of the rooms, but the objects have not been just randomly strewn about in a nonsensical manner and belong in the context they have been placed. You wont find any two inch ladders flying through the sky on an eagle's talons or eight foot spoons stuck to walls. On my monitor I had to lean in and squint a few times due to a few microscopic items. The game runs at the 4:3 resolution of 1024 X 768 and will stretch if your monitor does not have an option to preserve the aspect ratio.
Clockwork contains three types of searchable scenes: regular ol' static scenes, zoom-able scenes and scrolling scenes. Scrolling scenes make searching the most difficult because of multiple layers obscuring items as you move back and forth. A few simple puzzles and adventure game style item combination sequences fill out the rest of the game, but don't require much thought and can even be skipped should you so choose.
Four types of hints alleviate any problems with finding that last tiny bolt in a sea of metal while a cool down timer keeps your hint use to a minimum. No points, score or random click penalties mean you can plow through the game at your own pace, but the option for points or a score timer would have been nice.
Recommended if you like the hidden object genre.
+ Great artwork
+ Logical object placement
+ Varying types of scenes
+ Adventure game elements
+ Puzzles and story sequences can be skipped
- Only 3 hours for the main game
- Bad writing
- Throw away story
- A few teeny objects
- No points or score option