Take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), sent forth to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ravenous maw of Imperial Industry & Commerce. History is yours to seize for fame and fortune, for Science, and for the Queen and the glory of the Clockwork Empires!
User reviews: Mixed (125 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 15, 2014

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“Early Access is the single most influential tool we can find to receive feedback to improve the game. We've had tremendous success with doing this on smaller scales in the past with Dungeons of Dredmor, but with a larger game, especially a sandbox simulation game, more testing is dramatically more valuable. Early Access will make Clockwork Empires the best game we can possibly make it.

The benefits of Early Access for the players are, of course, early access to the game, and the ability to not only watch the game take shape but to help us shape it with suggestions on how we can improve systems, and be able to log in every month and see notable content additions and systems improvements inspired by your feedback.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We have a list of features to complete which we've discussed in detail on our Clockwork Empires: Development Progress site. We'll release the game when these features are done. Current estimate for their completion is about 9 months, but the most important thing for us is that the features we've discussed and wanted to include in the project make it in.

We also provide weekly development progress updates with changlogs on the Gaslamp Games blog and through the Gaslamp Games mailing list.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

This our giant Development Progress Report page (as mentioned) which we shall keep updated with each major public release of Clockwork Empires.

In terms of how the full version will differ from the current version:

The full version of Clockwork Empires will have more monsters, more character interactions, more vehicles, more events, a much improved user interface (based on feedback), more biome diversity, multiplayer, and ... of course, we will be improving game performance and resolving any crash bugs that are found as we go. (If anyone sees any crashing, please report it to Gaslamp Games for immediate Purging).”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Upon loading the game, the player is set to the task of building a thriving colony out of a pile of supplies and handful of characters. Making sure they don't starve and aren't killed by monsters are the most important considerations. Your military will shoot monsters if given access to weaponry, and your non-military characters will get to work building houses and workshops, and tilling farms as the player gives them orders to do so.

If you haven't read the giant Development Progress Report page (which we shall keep updated with each major public release of Clockwork Empires), then we urge you to do so.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“No, we are not planning on changing the price. Price changes tend to be confusing for everyone.

Increasing the price upon release is contrary to the long-standing tradition of games getting cheaper as they get older. Decreasing the price upon release effectively makes people pay a premium to participate in early access. While we feel that participating should be valuable to you, we don't want to set that price as something other than what everyone would have to pay anyway.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“The scale of community involvement is pretty heavily dependent on the size of the community.

To start, we spend time on our forums as well as right here on the Steam forums trying to answer questions directly, letting people know when we've logged bugs they find or responding to content or design suggestions. We've been doing this with our internal test group for the last few months, and with the Earliest Access players for the last month, which has benefited us a ton. At a some point, though, the community can get too big to guarantee that level of communication, at which point we might use other tools to answer questions. Reddit for direct conversations, strawpolls to gauge interest in different feature implementations, stuff like that which can help us hear everyone as effectively as possible. We're open to experimenting with this process to find out what works best, and we'll definitely listen to suggestions from players about how to better communicate with the community.

We have had a running development blog for Clockwork Empires since before we officially announced the project, and we will be keeping that up to date with our progress and changelogs for new versions. We will also keep our Clockwork Empires Development Progress report up to date with our monthly releases. People who want more information can visit the Clockwork Empires Portal to see the latest updates on our twitter account for the game, @ClockwrkEmpires).”
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Recent updates View all (16)

December 17

Clockwork Empires December update, "The Ghastly Tale of Amon Chalkbracket's Eldritch Transformation!" Now Live

Our December update is now up on Steam! Highlights of today's patch include:

  • Naturalists will now explore, study nature, and find weird artifacts!
  • Added Laboratories and Scientists to study weird artifacts & do science!
  • (Coincidentally) your colonists might transform into (more) monsters if certain conditions are met. Mysterious!
  • Buildings and Modules can be dismantled: Build, dismantle, then rebuild your colony to be more perfect!
  • Favours: use your prestige in the Empire to call in supplies, skilled workers, or if you have no prestige: extra criminals! Hooray for Extra Criminals!

The full changelog is really long, but you can find it on the dev blog here.

The development progress page has also been updated, with exhaustive notes on the status of the project.

Feel free to discuss the update here, over on the Steam discussion page, on our official forums, or in the comments of the latest blog post!

7 comments Read more

December 10

New blog post about refining combat mechanics

We wrote about getting from where we are now to where we wanted to be eventually in our high-level designs. Balancing things a bit, reducing some fiddly-ness and putting together some pieces that we have been building separately until now. The full post can be found here:

The full post can be found here:


We talked a long time ago about designing combat for Clockwork Empires, and there were a few things involved in our design that we've carefully been unpacking. The most important thing for us for the combat was the statement: “Combat should be slow, mostly positional, and have its outcome determined by supply and setup instead of tactical micromanagement.”

(Not representative of final game product.)

Which... we've done almost none of so far, BUT we've been setting the pieces in place for proper implementation. "Supplying and setting up" the feature, if you will.

1 comments Read more
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“Victorian Steampunk at its finest”

“I have a feeling it’s going to be something rather special”

“Clockwork Empires makes me uncomfortable”
PC World

About This Game

Take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), sent forth to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ravenous maw of Imperial Industry & Commerce. Build a prosperous colony, fill it with magnificent factories worked by oppressed labourers, and harness the awesome power of steam through fearsome machines invented by determined men and women of Science! History is yours to seize for fame and fortune, for Science, and for the Queen and the glory of the Clockwork Empires!

  • Colonists are simulated with individual personalities, memories, and will be happy or miserable depending on your management.
  • Free-form building: Design your own floorplans & arrange machines, furniture, and decorations as you see fit. (Or stuff everyone into bunkhouses.)
  • Mine ore, chop trees, farm cabbage, brew beer, tin weird caviar and try to keep your people from eating one another!
  • Weird horrible things: Menacing Fishpeople, cults, cannibalism, and more await your colonists.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows 7, Operating System of The Lower Classes
    • Processor: Intel i5 Processor or Equivalent ("The Little Scrapper" model)
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD card capable of supporting OpenGL 3.2 Core or Above. INTEL HD3000 AND HD4000 GRAPHICS CARDS ARE NOT SUPPORTED.
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Lord Palmerstoke's Sound-Reproducing "Old-Timey" Wax Cylinder Driver
    • Additional Notes: INTEL HD3000 AND HD4000 GRAPHICS CARDS ARE NOT SUPPORTED. The Ministry for Video Game Drivers would like to remind you: true Patriots of the Empire always install their latest Graphics Card Drivers before Enjoying A Bracing Video Game, lest the Blackness Consume Us All.
    • OS: Windows 7, 64-Bit Version (By Appointment to Her Majesty)
    • Processor: Intel i7 or above, fashioned of Stout Empire Tin and Burnished of Solid Pewter
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: A Big, Shiny NVIDIA or AMD Graphics Card With Lots of Fans Stuck to It. (Remember: More Fans Means More Steampunk!)
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
    • Sound Card: "His Masters' Voice" Novorusian All-Wailing Gramaphone Module and Borscht Dispensary
    • Additional Notes: The Ministry for Growth and Monitoring encourages you to buy a Really Big Monitor.
    • OS: OS X 10.9 ("Mavericks") or above
    • Processor: 2013 Generation Macbook Pro or iMac or Mac Pro
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: We're still trying to figure this out. Stay tuned.
    • OS: OS X 10.... what number *is* Yosemite anyway?
    • Processor: 2014 Generation Macbook Pro or iMac or Mac Pro
    • Memory: 16 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD Integrated Graphics Parts
    • Additional Notes: Note: some GeForce cards (700m series) are currently experiencing peculiar slowdowns. We are trying to figure this out. Stay tuned!
Helpful customer reviews
224 of 261 people (86%) found this review helpful
85.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 15
Early Access Review
My Hours Played don't reflect my actual play time; I've been loading this game directly from the .exe (which is a thing you can do, and which more Steam games ought to do, I'm looking at you, Skyrim). Also, sessions that crash apparently don't get added to your Hours Played. Expect crashes, this thing isn't even in Beta.

*edit* Apparently they do count!

This Early Access offering is a good example of the way Early Access should be done - the game itself is only nominally functional - there is currently no save function, for instance, there are still many bugs and crashes, and the interface is undergoing constant revision. Many planned features have yet to be implemented, and the game itself could stand some optimization.

*edit* I'm testing the 'internaltest-' build which has, among other things, a save function. It crashes more than it saves, but still.

The value of an Early Access game is the opportunity to participate in feedback that will shape the direction of the game. Submit suggestions, tweaks, typos, bugs and playability experiences to the Devs. They've shown themselves to be very responsive, and actively solicit player feedback (on the Gaslamp Games forums), and the whole development process has been the model of transparency, with weekly Dev Blog updates and a Twitter presence.

Clockwork Empires has a lovely aesthetic, and great potential, but it's nowhere near finished. Wait for full release (projected to be ~9 months) if you want it feature-complete and polished. I'm in it because the Development Blogs are great, the Devs are active, and I enjoy contributing my 2 cents worth.

This is a game on the same shelf as Dwarf Fortress, Gnomoria, Spacebase DF-9, et al. It's a city builder sim; there's no direct control of your citizens, who you direct largely by creating jobs and juggling priorities. The setting is a sort Victorian-era English colony; your soldiers wear red coats and wield muskets, your menfolk sport glorious handlebar moustaches, and your colonists (literally) gossip about things like the Monarchy. It's brass, elbow grease, laudanum, dodos, and cabbages everywhere. You already know if this stuff appeals to you or not.

Also appearing: fishmen, dark cults, insanity and ritual murder. Still in the works, tentacled horrors, secret geometry, and Lovecraftian modules for your Lumber Mill (!).

If you do get this game, get involved in the Dev side or you're missing a great opportunity; check out the blogs, read the forums, share hilarious stories about mass starvation and game-breaking bugs.

p.s. I forgot to mention cannibalism. Cannibalism is always hilarious. I don't know if fishmen count as cannibalism, but I'm pretty sure your fellow colonists do.

p.p.s Read the system requirements.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
76 of 90 people (84%) found this review helpful
44.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 17
Early Access Review
UPDATED: REV33: By far the best update that has been implemented. Now with complete re-designed mechanics and Graphics, the game runs certainly, much smoother and MAC support is now in the works with basic features working. The game has came a long way from the past 2 builds and with new features such as bandits, new animals, refined combat and economics and UI the game is definitely coming together. Again I would still be waiting a couple more before buying but in terms of my level of "playablility", that stage has almost been reached.

UPDATED: REV31: A very nice push from the devs has paid off and they have fixed a ton of bugs and crashes not to mention allowing save games. While there may be some that still are present they continue to bash them out with the help of the community. Many new features come in this build including further depth in cultists, fishpeople attacks, military improvements and much much more. Even included is a brand new play area complete with giant beetles and chickens! :D

There is much more to be done but it is a start, and a very good update considering the monthly schedule, these guys work hard, and it is definitely a worthwhile investment if you like your products being worked on and not sitting around for a while ^^

While this is Early Access.......very very early. I have to say that this game has huge potential. The developers are keen and very open and the game itself is the perfect management game for those who loved traditional city builder games crossed with a bit more things to do such as combat, defence etc.

It is based during the Colonial-Early Industrial period and already the developers have nice features set out. The game itself does have a sense of humor thrown in and the like such as having to fight off Fish people and all sorts of creatures. In future they plan to add bandits and all manners of factions and allow you to ally, trade and conduct diplomacy for your newly starting colony. There is also a map set out what looks like it will be a sort of campaign style base in which you choose where you would like to set out your next adventure for the Empire and start to form new colonies.

The artstyle in my view fits perfectly along with the current mechanics which are currently implemented it really does look and function well. If you play it you will see just exactly what this game could offer in the near future and even now.

The game is one of a kind and unique in so many ways. If you don't mind investing in such games then by all means take it into account but if you want a finished product then you will have to wait. I would say another month or so and this game will get better and better......hopefully :) It really is up to yourself but I can say this certainly. If you decide to invest your money in this EA game.
You will not loose out. The Devs are like PA Devs in that sense but even better. They are constanly interacting with community to fix things, release experimental build updates pretty much from 2 days-1 week. Really are making significant progress and fast.

EDIT: And I was correct when i said a month or 2. Saves are practically on the table with loading now as are basic defences. Many fixes and performance improvements to allow smooth running of the game and ruled out majority of crashes. Now they can finally give it a few weeks, start working on the games mechanics and content more rather than bug fixing. For now anyway :D

On that note: The team plan to adopt a monthly update schedule which will release major build updates to the public. If you would like to assist in testing or just mess around with it early then they have an opt in "experimental branch" which as it suggests is "experimental" but enough to keep you playing. I can see the team relating to Prison Architect in that sense as they always keep the community interested and up to date and these guys are constantly fixing and addressing issues with their game so very active :D

As I am constanly testing the Experimental builds which are updated regularly with new things to check out and suggest, I will be updating this throughout each build, or when I can :)
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63 of 80 people (79%) found this review helpful
37.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 15
Early Access Review
The world's finest cabbage farming simulator.

I'll say up front that at this time (8/15/14) it is still rather bare as a game and there are still engine bugs to be worked out. If you are wanting a polished full featured game hold off on buying this. However I've been involved since closed testing and have seen wonderful improvements and the foundation laid for many exciting game features over the last several months. The developers are passionate, experienced, and active in the community. Getting in now will let you help shape this fabulous game, and of course let you enjoy it now.

Many games hype what they hope they will be and have to scale back often leaving fans disappointed and skeptical about any games previews. Gaslamp Games have been hyping what already exists in Clockwork Empires. Many of the features are rough around the edges and a number are not included in the current public build (8/15/14) because they are not yet ready for prime time but they do exist. The talk of colonists having personalities and memories isn't smoke and mirrors. Once all the pieces are polished and come together Clockwork Empires will delight and horrify you.

It is a gem, rough and unpolished now but full of promise. And the developers release rapidly and responsively so you will not be waiting months for news. One week in closed tested we had 7 days that saw three full new versions (with significant changes) as features came together and they responded to tester feedback. While that was a very busy week they have a track record of consistent and fast updates.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
235 of 374 people (63%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
Early Access Review
I had no food so everybody ate eachother.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
51 of 68 people (75%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
Early Access Review
I'm voting this up only because the gameplay is actually really good. But I have to stress this game is bugged to hell. It crashes every 10 - 15 minutes, you can't save, so you basically always lose your progress, and if you pause sometimes the workers don't recover from it. A long way to go before we can call this a working game. I've logged a few tickets, but the game is good in terms of gameplay.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
28 of 36 people (78%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 15
Early Access Review
This game is smashing fun and a tasty treat if I may say so! Jolly great fun!

My first game was like this:
I had a food problem until I toggled on hunting on for all work crews, the bison herd of 10 got turned into bloddy bits and eaten raw by the starving hungry people rather fast. Quickly ran out of food and had to provoke a fish people attack by stealing their egg to get extra food in the form of fish person steak. It was a success at the cost of half the colonys brave people, but the remaining colonists fed well in cannibalistic feasting on their dead fellow colonist so that helped with the food problem. The last 13 people was 40% solders so it might have been possible for me to have had a food industry based on fish people flesh. But sadly the game crashed as I tried to cram 8 beds into a small house. Great fun! Its shaping up to be a tasty treat if I may say so!
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20 of 26 people (77%) found this review helpful
8.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 19
Early Access Review
Even in its early form, I love this game. It's incredibly charming, and has a lot of potential. Some of it is a bit clunky right now, but it has improved in a few short weeks from earliest access to the early access release on Steam. Save games are a bit unstable, but a welcome addition. It is shaping up to be a really fun city builder/simulation game, with a dark sense of humor. The genre is really lacking these days, so it is a welcome addition. I don't regret jumping in at earliest access for a moment, which says a lot considering a lot of early access games have been a complete money grabbing bust.
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75 of 126 people (60%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
Early Access Review
Really not yet (at least as of 18 August 2014). Really not for this price.

Gameplay is very similar to Towns. You have the same basic DF-lite build-your-production-engine-even-though-you-don't-directly-control-anyone kind of experience. There are what appear to be enhancements to the Towns model in the social class system and the work crew composition, as well as an interesting improvement in the way buildings can be customized and extended. There's no third dimension, which may prove to be a terrible mistake or may prove to be a brilliant simplification. There's also no documentation or tutorial, so you're sort of left to figure out what all of this stuff actually means yourself. It's also sluggish and prone to crashes, the UI's full of TBDs, and you can't save your game.

The style is engaging, the artwork is promising, the gameplay seems like it will eventually be tunable into something both fun and challenging. It's worth keeping your eye on this game. But it really only works sometimes, if you don't look at it too hard. And it's not a real game yet.

You can't blame them for turning to the Early Access model. I mean, that's money you don't have to pay back after you ship, why wouldn't you do that if you could? But the 30 dollar price point's going to generate a lot of buyers' remorse.
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A developer has responded on Dec 4 @ 8:49pm
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49 of 79 people (62%) found this review helpful
13.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 19
Early Access Review
Not recommending until: Save Features, fixing common crashes, and smarter workers. Remember this is Early Access though.

PROS: Great and open developer who is constantly updating both the game and development blog (http://clockworkempires.com/development.html). Playable up to 2 hours before crash. Witty and fun gameplay with indepth economy/crafting system. Game's price will not decrease.

CONS: It took me about 9 hours to exhaust the fun of this game. It probably would be a lot less if it didn't crash constantly and had a save feature. The game is a mix between Banished and Sims if you've played those. Combat AI is pretty good but workers fail to properly prioritize and pick up tasks (I.E. letting crops fail, not helping other work crews, etc.). Buildings are easy to place but hard to edit during placement (sometimes crashes on renovation too). Population and supplies mostly come in the form of "Immigration" and "Colonial Ministry" events that are somewhat random and frustratingly slow at times. Once jobs or objects are ordered, there is no way to edit them. The price won't increase upon release so no harm in waiting until it's better.
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A developer has responded on Dec 18 @ 5:51pm
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11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
28.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 20
Early Access Review
I would definately pick up this game when it's finished.

In alpha it's a whole pile of heart break. After 30 some odd days and 35+ Settlers the game crashed. No big alpha is alpha, and unlike most games the Devs do actually pay attention to comments and reviews. I just DIED inside after losing such a great colony. If you don't mind some early bugs and balance issues (basically alpha in a nutshell) then give it a go. Just don't expect everything to be perfect just yet.

On the subject of bugs, since the Devs read this and respond. I may as well throw down some of the things I've come across after a good day of playing.

I love the bandits, the whole Idea is a great addition, especially those bandit camps full of goodies. But too much! During one very short playthrough I had already fended off some fish folk twice, and bandits 3 times. After I watched the walking tank take out the last of my armed forces I admitted defeat. The the same basic thing happened a few more times. I'll be honest, I did rock some notepad plus in the events folder and tone down the number of bandits. It seemed to help make it a bit more balanced. If I was lazy and let the armed forces do their own thing I would still take casualties, but with some decent planning, a few clutch land mines, and fortifications. I managed to hold the line.

Sadly after discovering that the upper class was doing nothing to contribute, and THEN discovering that they were also distracting my workers. I was forced to execute my entire upper class population. I'm sure their are big plans for them but damn they are mighty useless. During a situation where everyone needs to pull their own weight, it was just not appropriate to have them around. I mean come on! This is a frontier colony! What are we going to do with Capitalists and Poets!?

No Chair for you!
I had to basically make the choice of not building chairs or tables. They basically broke my production chains. The time it would take for every citizen to walk to the food stuffs, and then all the way to whatever random table they decided was good. Compared to the time it would take to huff it to the stock pile and scarf it down right their simply made it worth it to save my wood for other tasks.

Hunting Bug Maybe?
For whatever reason my citzens would not hunt. Maybe a bug, maybe just that game. But whenever I set them to hunt they would drop their current task and remain idle. If I removed hunting from their tasks, they started working again.

I pick things up and put them down!
Every once and a while a work crew will decide that the building they are working on requires a dance. They begin to pick up logs, then move them to another stockpile spot and drop them. Then begin the process over again. I've also observed them doing it with planks while assembling modules. Usually the same plank or log.

Need an ability to cancel/delete/remove anything. The only real game breaking aspects of the game is the inability to say delete the job to build a refinery that seems to bug, or remove a module that's in the wrong spot. Or tear down a building all together. Remove a stockpile. farm, etc.

Remember the game is still in alpha, so if you pick it up. Take some notes and send them over to the devs. The game can only get better that way.
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15 of 20 people (75%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
Early Access Review
It's acutually quite fun, allthough the glitches are everywhere and half of the game are placeholders, plus the optimization is quite awful. But seeing that this game is in Earliest early access and isn't ANYWHERE close to finished development, i'll let it stand. Maybe it shouldn't have been put on steam this early seeing as it crashes every 10 - 15 minutes but the game is still quite enjoyable and is only going to get better once the bugs are fixed and a menu screen is added.
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17 of 24 people (71%) found this review helpful
16.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 22
Early Access Review
The Good:
-Rich lore, love how the devs stay meta to the steampunk theme with the game and its marketing.
-Lots of in-game resources, production chains, & buildings. Think Children of the Nile.
-Unique and personalize colonists, each with traits and background history, memory of events that affect them in-game.
-Worker pathfinding/fulfillment habits seems smooth so far, alot better than COTN, they don't seem to mind walking far to get food or resources.
-Fish people! Finally a settlement/city-builder game that gives us a decent "enemy" system and practical combat control.

The Bad:
*Game is in pre-alpha, bugs and shortcomings are expected, but this is my list of current faults with the game as of September 2014.

- Needs visible resource counter, at least for the basic resources. Commodity menu is too clunky, takes up screen space.

- Buildings and farms cannot be demolished once built. Really plays havoc with settlement planning and general game play. (Devs say demolishment would be added soon, let's hope so!)

-Drag control for laying out floors and storage/farm zones glitchy, doesn't seem to want to select where you want it to. Really messes up your game when laying out farms and buildings, especially since you CAN'T demolish any of your mistakes.

- Once a building is built, you can't add space or furniture to it later on. This means there's no room for expanding your production or residential buildings. Annoying when you realize you need more ovens in your current kitchen. I don't want to have to build a new facility every time I need to expand....Please change this!

-Job/Work queue system broken/unfinished, in addition to no-demolish, any game you start right now would eventually go down the crapper as you find your kitchen orders are not being assigned/worked on and undeletable farms suck away your labour pool. End result, your people starve to death, unless you grow just cabbages. Even then, work queue bugs would eventually render food production moot or simply crash your game. My longest game as of yet is 5 hours before it either spirals into work queue-death or game crash.

-Save game function is broken, fog of war does not save, so every time you reload the fog of war is remapped through the line-of-sight of citizens. Graveyards/Storage Zones would unregister but still show up visually on map, so you'll have to rezone them everytime in different places when you reload.

-Maybe the ability to create 2-storey buildings? No? Ok...

- Work Parties list menu UI icons are too big, takes a LONG time to scroll through the list to find what your looking for. Needs to be scale down to display more without need to scroll miles. Buttons to prioritize and cancel work orders on queue don't work yet.

-Random error crashes, game crashes if you exit to main menu and load another game. Makes game unplayable in the long-term as errors are persistent with your saves, meaning starting a new game every few hours or so.

I believe the first Alpha game I ever touched was DayZ on Arma 2. First Beta would be Minecraft, the game that probabbly started all this Early-Access pandemonia. Minecraft was pretty polished when I first jumped in, I actually liked the beta better than the full release versions (too much stuff now, got confusing - especially with blocky 16 bit graphics). DayZ was alright as well, despite the cornucopia of connection issues, long load times ,and outright cheating going on, it was playable. And by "playable", I meant I actually had fun playing it.

I bought Clockwork Empires with this in mind, thinking while it was unfinish, it would still be interesting play-test of a cool steampunk settlement/city-builder (a genre that desperately needs new games) that would offer some continual if limited gameplay. What I experience was my first taste of what a pre-alpha really was...

Clockwork Empires can be best describe right now at its current stage (September 2014) as an unfinished Monopoly game board with missing pieces. You have some squares missing, no chance cards or hotel pieces, and you're playing with half a dice. Your not going to have a lot of fun, and you're going to have a headache trying to figure out the rules as it is. Though there is still some merit hidden in the dark corners, namely in Clockwork's growing but faulty game mechanics and subtle hints to its lore. Being pre-alpha, I'm really hoping Clockwork's devs are willing to make the effort to make this game into a true gem it deserves to be instead of just out to swipe our hard-earned $$$.

When you first start a new map (currently two maps available), you're treated to a seemingly enormous map space that's smoldered with black fog of war, except the small area where your colonists and soldiers stand in wait of your orders along with some starting supplies. There is a text based tutorial, no interactive how-to here. Its not too bad, but I can't help but feel a game of this size and complexity really needs an in-game pedia and help menu, I'm sure the devs are working on that as I speak.

At first glance, the setup is similar to Banished, another city-builder (Banished was actually how I found Clockwork, I was yearning for a combat element to the challenging but otherwise tranquil gameplay of Banished). Mouse over map artifacts show there's a great multitude of gatherable resources scattered throughout the map, done in a way similar to Children of the Nile. Trees can be chopped for logs, boulders mined for building stone, half a dozen variety of ores, foragable berries and fungus, etc. All resources gathered in the game are done by a single click or drag over the resource area followed by a selection on an option wheel. No need to build mines or extraction facilities, just drag or click and your colonists would dig the stuff up for you with their bare hands. Storage faciilties (which are free) can be built but not mandatory. Your colonists simply drop items on the ground if needed. This is a nice touch, at least for me it means avoiding the expense curve that was Anno's resource extraction system.

Advance items are produced through a production chain that's almost as detailed as that in the Anno series, but production of items is not automatic, but actually require the players to manually place "Orders" through production buildings. A bit annoying at first when you need lots of building materials like planks on hand, but eventually I realize this lets me control the raw material supply, and not have to deal with pillaging of stockpiles by citizens - as was the case with Children of the Nile.

As of now, all buildings are available to be built by the player, at least no tech tree I can discern. The player needs to custom layout buildings and place machinery/furniture, "Sims"-esque style. No more blocks of identical clone buildings, which adds a lot to the variety and customization to the game. Of course, as of now you can't demolish buildings or remove/add existing furniture (Really devs, how could you have left that out at this point?). Another wierd thing, placing multiply furnitures requires you to re-select an item after you placed the first item. Placing items like a dozen beds for a bunkhouse can be tedious, requiring you to move and click back and forth over and over again. Item hangover I guess is something the devs are still working on. Exterior options for buildings are limited, a few lamp posts and signage but you can't change the look or color of walls. Adding the ability to save a blueprint of a custom building would be a great plus here, at least when it comes repeat placing of homes or watnot.

Each colonist is a definitive individual, with traits and memories of events that carry tangible in-game effects. Think State of Decay. This is where CE really shines, and I'm hoping the devs would turn this and other things into a playable game. Till then, I would wait for at least a beta-level stage before buying.
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
28.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 20
Early Access Review
This game is very promising. While far from finished in its present form there are enough elements present to suggest this is going to be immensely good fun when it is finished because it is already pretty good. I look forwards with considerable interest to future developments, because so far I have seen plenty to recommend it.
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11 of 15 people (73%) found this review helpful
29.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 15
Early Access Review
Cabbage, fishpeople, cults, frontier justice and doomed colonists who have no inkling that mucking around with the Old Ones is not a good idea. This game has fantastic potential and I have been an avid fangirl since 'earliest access' was made available. Yes, there are lots of bugs (this is early access!), but the developers are great in fixing issues, actively respond on forums and have a brilliant sense of humour (vitally important in a game such as this!). This game is well worth supporting. Every time a new build is loaded, I cannot help but to fire up Clockwork Empires just to see what has been changed and so far, those updates have been coming weekly.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!!!!!
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
14.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 20
Early Access Review
I like the idea of this game; a group of colonists you can micromanage into building a new settlement in a lavish resource filled world, but watch out for the bandits and fishpeople.

This game has a lot of great potential, as far as strategy sandbox games go. But just when you think you're getting into it, it crashes, and it happens a lot. There is still a long way to go before it reaches the final product stage but it may have a lot of potential.

Rev33 gets a 5/10. Playable, not worth the full ticket price.
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8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
Early Access Review
This game has problems. I hate to start with that, but I must, because as of now (32B) it is buggy, sometimes broken and incomplete. That said, this is EARLY ACCESS, so it should not be complete right now. If they were to sell it as a full game in it's current state, it would suck, but that is not what it is. As early access, it is great. It has some fantastic ideas, great art style, and tons more on the way. The devs are also fantastic, everything they do, they post, and are quite open with how the development process is going. If you are curious you can go check it out at gaslamp games.com. They are supportive of the fans and, more importantly for early access, take ideas into acount and try to make the game better. As of now, it is fun, but broken, once it is fixed and complete, this could be a great game. I am talking three number hour counts. Once you figure out the game ( not much of a tutorial right now) it is hard, but not unfair. It does not bash you over the head with random sudden problems and go "deal with it" like other colony sims. ( I am looking at you, tropico tornado). If there is a problem, it is either a known one that you can prepare for to stop it, or, you just did not keep an eye on the cultists. Building is also great, because you can build you building how you like, and decorate them how you like, so you don't have the good old thirty identical houses thing. It's great fun, and looks to be better once it is done. Also don't let my low hours fool you, I got earliest access, so played that, and also steam is doing weird things as far as keeping track of hours goes. Also when you people get hungry, they don't just die, they resort to cannabalism. how many other games do that? and fishpeople, giant beetles, cultists, eldritch horrors, poets, drugs, alcaholism.......
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20 of 33 people (61%) found this review helpful
10.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 26
Early Access Review
This game has fantastic potential. HOWEVER, as of right now, the $30 pricetag is absolutely ridiculous. Half the time saving the game crashes it, trying to utilize any of the functions in the game crashes it, and playing it for more than an hour crashes it. I realize that yes; this is an alpha, and it's early access. But you don't slap such a high price onto such a badly unfinished game. The AI is absolutely ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥, and unfortunately there's nothing particularly negative that happens with the Lovecraftian elements as of yet (which I know will be implemented later).

When the game is finished, I'll be more than happy to give a review again, but as of right now, I do NOT recommend purchasing it. Wait until there's more done.
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A developer has responded on Dec 4 @ 8:56pm
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
44.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
Early Access Review
Being in very, very early access I was suspicious. This game is incredibly fun, and I find it exciting to see what the company has layed out for the game's future.

I like Sim City and Ceaser 3, so this game is my style. While there is no instruction and some learning is necessary, I find it worthwhile.

The art and humour are my two favorite elements so far. At $30.00 Canadian it is insanely expensive for a game that has a long time before being done, but hopefully my 30 bucks will speed that up. I am confident that this title will blow me away.

I've played for a few hours already, and love the "feel" of the game. The music is really dynamic and fitting. The player will see a farmer start jigging in the field, yet another citizen will be arguing with a soldier about the monarchy. Many interesting elements are going on, and as the beurocrat in charge you only influence the outcome. You do not decide it. My only real concern is how nothing is focused as one scrolls the screen, which irritates my eyes.

Mine the metal, make the pipes and weapons. Grow the pumpkin, make the stew. Your followers have different prefernces, histories and political affiliations, which determines what they do more than you.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 21
Early Access Review
This early access game is fun and interesting, but there are definitely a few bugs that need to be ironed out before release. Apart from no audio during my first game (restarting fixed this), the actual gameplay seems to work pretty smooth - no gamestopping bugs. The tutorial did an ok job at explaining the basics, but it still needs more explanations on how the game works.

However the interface still needs a bit of work, where some buttons simply have no use, and some orders are kind of repetitive. Still, the interface works, and the game is playable already in this state. The biggest problem I found is how little you can see about whats going on in the colony. Colonists are ordered in work teams, but aside from counting them, there's no easy way to find out how many they are. And there's little visual distinction between them apart from their fancy names. This made it hard to figure out who was doing what, and micro-managing becomes extremely tedious.

The game is very flavourful, and there's lots to do. It's a hard game that plays quite differently each time. I can't really recommend getting this early access version, but I definitely think the finished game will be worth every penny!
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
23.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 25
Early Access Review
An idea that holds the essence of Victorian Steampunk and comes with a brilliant presentation..Also the fact that each colonist has it's own personality that evolves from a combination of their traits and their memories make this a unique project..Having said that take note that it's an early access game(alpha) with a buggy interface at the moment and a gameplay that it's not polished yet..I have never experienced a crash however or a problem with saving/loading games as i read from others..The most annoying bugs i found is that at some point all tabs were showing a different number of colonists making the situation in hand unmanagable & with a workshop i designed that is now full operational but the exterior was never built.
I really hope that the developers can deliver all this potential the game is showing. Cause if they do this is going to be a one-of-a-kind game.
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