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:
Mostly Positive (361 reviews) - 73% of the 361 user reviews for this game are positive.
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. 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, 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 (84)

July 22


Beta 52F of Clockwork Empires is now on the experimental branch on Steam.

Consolidated changelog for Beta 52F

  • added smarter tooltip anchoring code
  • added anchored tooltips for emotion bars which should cause fewer issues.
  • added a major event arc
  • Graveyards are now use fixed zone size system (like farms)
  • improved "shoo animal" job; it will work more effectively now
  • airships now crash in more varied locations
  • 2x button, workshops, offices, houses, and commodities buttons now highlight when in use
  • "Ceramics" skill is now "Stoneworking" (In future builds its scope will be expanded to include mining)
  • the following jobs will now show progress bars: Finish Upkeep, Clear Object, Deconstruct Building, Deconstruct Module, Flatten Terrain
  • Master/W-tier upkeep trunk commodities now show the actual number being produced in their recipe
  • balance: immigration is more likely to give you lots of characters if you have significant excess capacity
  • balance: civilian colonists will get more negative memories from combat
  • balance: seeing eldritch horrors is now more terrifying
  • balance: inactive workshops/offices do not require upkeep
  • FIXED: module tooltips now persist across save/load
  • FIXED (52E): immigration count errors
  • FIXED (52E): foreign office not resetting missions
  • FIXED: Rogue Stahlmarkian would stay forever
  • FIXED: tutorial window sticks around when game is shut down, causing crashes
  • FIXED: leftover jobs showing up in jobs menu after starting new game, quitting to main menu, starting new game again

Enjoy your weekend,

-- Gaslamp Games

1 comments Read more

July 19


Beta 52E of Clockwork Empires is now on the Experimental Branch on Steam. As always, this is experimental so expect it to not be quite as stable as the "stable" branch. This patch is a doozy.

Major Changes

  • added 2x speed button (a thousand voices cheer out from the Steam Forums)
  • added harvest stamp commands to collect resources from the map
  • fixed module placement limits (can't place modules in invalid buildings or on top of one another)
  • various UI and mechanics related to upkeep improved, bugs fixed, balancing done
  • civilians can now fight

Full changelog for Beta 52E
  • added new buttons for spawn points
  • added currently selected highlighting to lists of offices/housing, changed visual style slightly.
  • new emotion value display added to characters
  • added 2x simulation button! HOLY VORPULON
  • reduced # of points on world; optimized world gen a bit
  • added embarkation button icon biome detection code
  • players cannot place modules into inappropriate buildings (Blueprints where you can place a module will show as blue. Blueprints where you cannot place a module will show up as red.)
  • removed "chop down", "mine surface node", "forage", "clear terrain" and replaced them with assignment stamping tools
  • added Upkeep display to workshops
  • modules disabled by lack of upkeep will no longer lose production queues
  • housing population cap increase system added: houses will now increase population cap per appropriate social class as you add amenities, look for details in the UI
  • various improvements added to ranged and melee attack logic
  • did work crew selection box improvements (shows skill level, number of labourers assigned to crew)
  • improved FYI alert UI style
  • added disturbance counter. It counts disturbances. WHAT COULD THOSE BE
  • removed starting NCO
  • removed field promotions
  • added civilian combat AI
  • reduced animals spawned at start of game (they were crowding things)
  • rebalanced off-shift social jobs to hopefully make things more interesting
  • added new event for reaching the 150 char population cap
  • added Rare Painting module to game. Placing these in your houses increases their population capacity. (it can be acquired from various events and traders)
  • added new trait: Light Sleeper. Can only sleep in beds.
  • added new trait: Heavy Sleeper. isn't woken by preaching/gunfire/etc.
  • traits: Adaptable trait now gives bonus to skillgain of best 3 skills
  • traits: Brutish trait gives a bonus to melee damage
  • traits: Materialistic colonists are harder to please with house quality
  • traits: Reclusive colonists don't make friends on spawn
  • traits: Scholarly trait gives bonus to science skillgain and penalty to all others
  • traits: Xenophobic overseers can cause diplomatic incidents if you assign them to a foreign office
  • traits: Patriotic overseers give a bonus to empire diplomacy point gain
  • traits: epiceureans learn cooking skill faster
  • traits: removed Voracious trait
  • traits: Hale and Hearty trait grants a bonus to HP
  • added new trait: Jack of All Trades. Gets a bonus to leveling skills that are below lv3
  • added new trait: Highly focused. Gets a bonus to learning their best skill and a penalty to all others
  • added new trait: Woodtouch, Stonesense, Ironborn. Gives boni to Carpentry, Ceramics, Metalworking skillgain respectively. Ironborn grants a small melee damage bonus.
  • added new trait: Oblivious Worker. Gains no benefit or penalty from workplace quality
  • balance: added clay to Tropical Dry Forest
  • balance: upkeep timers are tracker per-building rather than globally
  • balance: Novice and Artisan upkeep trunk recipes now give 2 trunks for 1 resource
  • FIXED: various jobs could be performed while carrying commodities now require they be dropped (eg. hunting, repairing buildings)
  • FIXED: beetles eating longpork will no longer transform it into charred meat
  • FIXED: colonists will no longer drink booze that doesn't belong to them
  • FIXED: crashed airship ending scripterror (in certain cases)
  • FIXED 52D: items stuck to hands due to job interrupts
  • FIXED 52D: gridAddItem error, for real
  • FIXED 52D: grimoire scripterror when no vicar present
  • FIXED: grammar error in the airship crash event
  • FIXED: Scrap Iron can now be smelted into iron bars
  • FIXED: players cannot place modules on top of other modules
  • FIXED: productionWindow not initialized after save/load and may contain garbage
  • FIXED: various typos
  • FIXED: house demolish button
  • FIXED: colonists no longer only wander into the woods when afraid
  • FIXED:mining surface nodes took more than twice as long as intended
  • FIXED: removed some unpathable cliffs in temperate swamp

Go forth and Do Things Quickly,

-- Gaslamp Games

13 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
    • Storage: 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
    • Storage: 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!
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Mostly Positive (361 reviews)
Recently Posted
Captain Krieg
( 44.9 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 27
i used to call it crashwork empires but with a lot of love and care, thay have made it clockwork empires again.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
DickDong the Fuck Smasher
( 7.9 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 23
Great promise, would reccomend down the line. However the only reason I play it is to help contribute to that progress. It is still barebones.

At the moment
- No graphic settings
- Frequent crashes and freezing (far better than it was)
- Very buggy (for example a lot of things will either be unremovable or leave unremovable highlights on the map even after cancelling)
- AI is frustrating a lot of the time, even after putting in effort to work it out (which is not explained in game for new players or in a simple format)
- Tutorial is far better than it was (still contains occasional bugs and mistakes) and help buttons explain the UI well, but still leaves a lot of the more unique and complex mechanics for you to work out yourself (the interactions between overseers and workers for example)
- One speed setting (including a pause feauture), might be an issue for some players.

There has been a lot of progress but I cannot enjoy playing it as a game in its condition. From what we have, the final product will hopefully be amazing, as long as they focus on optimisation/quality of life mechanics, aside from all the additional content they are adding at the moment.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 11.6 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 20
The devs are engaged and involved, the game looks great, progress is steady....If you like management/building games then I'd recommend. Thus far I'm waiting for the final release to really really dig into this title, but even the suggestions I've seen/made on the forums have been incorporated. The level of developer coordination and effort really shines in this early access title. This is how it should be in early access!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Monsieur Connard
( 21.5 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 8
Clockwork Empires is a Victorian based game (not really steampunk) where you drop a bunch of orders, and watch helplessly as your lazy and stupid colonists do their best to mess with them. And then complain.
It is an excercise in frustration, where you will spend more time yelling at your screen instead of actually playing, due to the lack of control on pretty much everything. To the point you might regret this game is not about micromanaging and the tedious associated.

And that's the "gameplay". Then you have another kind of frustration when dealing with an UI that seems to have been made by Bethesda. For consoles.

And when you are ready to close the game, having accomplished nothing but to raise your own cardiac stress, the game will crash for you. Usually when saving, as a big FU.

And that's if you are lucky and have a "normal" play. Most of the time, it will bug so much, you will not even enjoy the usual frustration, but instead enjoy another kind.
I know it's an Early access, but the amount of major bugs is staggering, and a lot of them are pretty much guaranteed. Some of them are gamebreaking. In 13h~ I had an entire colony broken because of a bunch of them (IE unplayable).

CE is probably the most realistic town sim game ever. Sadly, having to deal with lazy idiots who will not listen is not really funny.

10/10 would enjoy the frustration of being a city leader again. Now I understand why they have grey hair and cardiac issues relatively young.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 68.7 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: July 1
Great game, full of humor and wit. Updates are sometimes a little slow, but deliver. Looking forward to the finished product. But would reccomend in its current state.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 1.2 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 30
Keeps crashing on a mac. The game doesn't let you make it fullscreen without messing up your mouse.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 41.3 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 26
If you enjoy town building in a pretty game, this is a game for you.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 13.8 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 25

After playing this studio's previous entry and liking the aesthetics and tone (Dungeons of Dredmor), I was pleasently surprised that they have since been working on another game that follows similiar themes but was a RTS instead of a rouge-like. Intrigued, decided to place this game on my wishlist and see how the development would pan out.

After more than a year and finding myself pining for a new RTS to play, decided to give this entry a go despite the price tag. A decision based on research and seeing the company was committed to continous development and fixes based on player feedback. Comparing this to how other Early Access games are treated by their companies, this bolstered my confidence, ultimately resulting in a purchase.

However of course, this being an Early Access game, the game itself is not without it's faults and I will try to give an balanced view to the current state of the game as of it's latest state: Build 52.


Actually Playing


Aesthetic-wise the game doesn't use high polygon graphics with models and textures looking a little on the muddy side but does it's job well enough to easily identify what you're looking at. I rarely found myself being confused by what a item was based on looks alone, unless it was a new item I haven't encountered yet.


The current iteration of the music loops through a few tracks which have a nice spooky, ethereal feel to them, very much in line with the overall lovecraftian feel of the game. The music on/off function in the options didn't work for me, so if you want to silence the game while you listen to your own tunes, this is not currently possible in the current iteration of the game.


Controls are done with the W, A, S, D keys to moe left, right, up and down the map by default, E and Q keys rotate the camera. Wasn't a problem for me but did read a review earlier where someone expressed their displeasure at the lack of mouse-camera control scheme so might be negative for you depending on your preference.


As for the gameplay itself, it's fairly typical of entries into this genre with the game starting out at a location of your choosing and whatever starting loadout of populace and supplies you choose, from there it's up to you to build up your settlement from working with wood and foraging for food to creating metal plates and pipes and growing your own form of sustenance as well as creating a militia to fend off foreign threats.

The game itself is quite fun and you can easily lose hours of your life dedicating to building up your populace from humble beginnings however there are a few points you have to consider before you decide to buy into this Early Access.

1. The pacing of the game is significantly slower than other entries i've tried in the genre. It can take you up to 2-3 hours to get your first couple of houses built, crops to reach their first harvest and to have a working carpentry and kitchen with new workers and overseers trickling in a very gradual rate.

Workers and overseers seem to take forever to get anything done with the populace just walking at a very casual almost plodding pace and I found myself alt-tabbing out of the game often because they were either asleep or it just felt it was taking too long for something to be built because the game wasn't clear on what a worker was waiting on to fulfill a order or what task they were working on instead.

An example of this was when I was waiting for some iron ingots to be made, which required both Coal and Hematite, both of which i had enough for but for some reason despite neither being on break, my overseer of the metalworks decided tidying the store for the upteenth time was more important with the other worker off talking to their friend.

2. Unlike other games i've played in this genre, your typical overseers and workers who carry out your orders and fuel the economic and technogical growth of your operation have shifts which they stick to, working typically for most of the day with needed rests in the middle and end of their shift. They can work extra for longer shifts if they're happier and this current iteration is a marked improvement over earlier builds of the game where downtime was more paramount but is still a point of contention when talking about the game's pacing.

Consdering these points, I'm afraid i'm going to have to agree with those who believe that a speed-dial option would be nice, although it can be peaceful and almost tranquil to watch my current settlement carry out their lives, I found myself falling asleep or alt-tabbing out the game to keep my attention engaged.

The game's slow pacing is a sentiment I have seen repeated in other reviews.


3. Bugs. It's Early Access so they are to be expected and just like how programming typically is, for every little thing that is fixed and added, another bug rears it's head. The game can end up crashing entirely and there are weird glitches where stacks of resources are left and forgotten when construcing buildings, items being stuck in mid-animation e.g. when being picked up/placed down in stockpile as well workers/overseers picking up and placing items down continously as if they're stuck in some loop. Typically problems start cropping up when the population start getting past the 45 people range. Encountered another bug where a total of 2 workforce was sent to man an mineshaft and both work forces just disappeared so that was weird.

Despite these flaws, I do still find myself coming back to play this game: a testament to the developer's vision but if you do pick up this game and your patience is like mine, you may find yourself feeling frustrated starting a new map and realising it's going to take another 2-3 hours to feel like you're getting anywhere and the plodding pace of your populace is going to make you feel like getting up and making a cup of tea.


In Closing

To sum up, I'd say do give the game a go if you feel inclined, with few entries of RTS's of this type at the moment and the lack of feedback and apparent development from other games in Early Access i seen on here, it seems Gaslamp Games is committed and in for the long run with Clockwork Empires with them consistently pushing out fixes and updates every month.

The community surrounding the game is also positive with little flaming and ban's going on which seems to speak volumes about the company's attitude, so if you haven't been deterred by the negative points I listed and want to support a company that seem committed to further development of this title then go for it I'd say.

I do plan to keep the review pretty up to date as more builds come out, changes to my review will be made as applicable.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review if you got to the end and I'd be happy to reply to any comments,
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 65.9 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 23
A respectable colony-builder that's got a lot of heart and soul and blood and teeth and madness. It's in beta now, and the roughness of the edges is finally ready for polishing now that the major game systems are complete. As the devs say, don't pick this up until you feel you're ready, but if you're eager for a simulation game RIGHT NOW GOTTA HAVE IT, this is a fine choice!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 25.2 hrs on record )
Early Access Review
Posted: June 20
Lots of potential, just frustrating that it crashes a lot...

Still loads of work to go but there is a possiblity this can be an amazing game, sadly it is still in development for god knows when but in its current status I cannot recommend this game for the moment
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 20
The devs are engaged and involved, the game looks great, progress is steady....If you like management/building games then I'd recommend. Thus far I'm waiting for the final release to really really dig into this title, but even the suggestions I've seen/made on the forums have been incorporated. The level of developer coordination and effort really shines in this early access title. This is how it should be in early access!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
68.7 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 1
Great game, full of humor and wit. Updates are sometimes a little slow, but deliver. Looking forward to the finished product. But would reccomend in its current state.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
7.9 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: July 23
Great promise, would reccomend down the line. However the only reason I play it is to help contribute to that progress. It is still barebones.

At the moment
- No graphic settings
- Frequent crashes and freezing (far better than it was)
- Very buggy (for example a lot of things will either be unremovable or leave unremovable highlights on the map even after cancelling)
- AI is frustrating a lot of the time, even after putting in effort to work it out (which is not explained in game for new players or in a simple format)
- Tutorial is far better than it was (still contains occasional bugs and mistakes) and help buttons explain the UI well, but still leaves a lot of the more unique and complex mechanics for you to work out yourself (the interactions between overseers and workers for example)
- One speed setting (including a pause feauture), might be an issue for some players.

There has been a lot of progress but I cannot enjoy playing it as a game in its condition. From what we have, the final product will hopefully be amazing, as long as they focus on optimisation/quality of life mechanics, aside from all the additional content they are adding at the moment.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
247 of 286 people (86%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
124.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: August 15, 2014
*edit* January 2015: So I first wrote this way back in August 2014. I've stuck with the game, and it's development has interested me enough to hold my attention to the present day, January 2015. I've even gone and made a bunch of YouTube videos, which I'll link - those should give interested parties a good idea what actual gameplay is like.


August 2014: 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 Funny
79 of 81 people (98%) found this review helpful
26 people found this review funny
559.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: January 19
At 439 hours played I have to say that this is my favourite game on steam. I just love it. Yep it is not finished. Yep major bits are not yet working, yep there is still quite a way to go.

But it is funny, charming and bonkers. It has lovely animations and background flavour text, cubes of flesh and sausages. I am 51 and should really be getting on with my life but keep clicking the damn play button even though I have seen everything in the game many times. Some eldritch facination keeps drawing me in like a dumb cultist to some sleeping horror bemeath the waves. I have watched the game grow from something that barely works at all to something that sometimes works a bit.

But beware my review as I thought Towns was really good.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
87 of 103 people (84%) found this review helpful
77.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: August 17, 2014
UPDATED REV 42E: The Devs have been focusing on bug fixing and mainly changes within the User Interface and Farming area of the game. The U.I has had an overhaul in terms of the character selection menu and information panels. They tell you more about each character, their mood, emotion and progress towards desires. Each character's current effects now show bars as to how it affects their mood within these panels.

The Farming and Kitchen has been addressed in a sense that instead of mass lists of recipes, the vast majority of standard food you can find, gain from hunting and farming has been condensed into a simple "Make food" job where the colonists will use any standard type of food they can find. I much prefer this because it is at the end of the day what you order anyway, all food you can.

Militarily, the barracks function and NCO has been fixed so they now properly train into Regular troops from militia.

Overall, not a bad update at all however as I have previously stated, the game is very much playable and more of the game "content" in that regard, new items, clothing etc, should be coming in the near future because it would seem most systems are now functioning as intended and have been fixed.

UPDATED REV 41D: Constantly changing and evolving, CE is more stable than ever. So many changes in the latest builds from REV 38. The majority of issues have been addressed to the state that you can pretty much play for however long you like. Once you start getting larger populations however you may still encounter the odd bug or issue. On that note the Devs are reaching what I call the last loose ends. Fixing the remaining issues that people encounter and adding in the systems left.

The UI has been updated massively and there are various new systems in place such as the events which are now much more refined. There is a starting property ownership system in place which is going to be built on to eventually include owning clothing, various objects and so on. The workshops have been overhauled and recently just added in is the new Military Barracks which replaces the old system of training. You assign a Military Officer or Militia NCO to the Barracks and he/she will start to train troops into Regulars.

The favour system has also been recently amended. For example you can now recieve a prisoner work group which will assist your colony doing various tasks for 3 days. Many now have a time frame. The squad of Regulars led by an NCO also assist for 3 days (or is it 5?) for example.

All in all a lot has changed to list, including minor changes but the game has made substancial progress certainly.


UPDATED REV38 : So much has changed since my last update. This is now Clockwork Empires in the Official stable gameplay stage now. You can play without any major issues, no crashes or that. They have added removal of buildings, planning changes, new User Interface elements and refined Combat mechanisms and A.I for colonists and elements alike. If you were following this previously, then now is a pretty good time to join in the fun and development of Clockwork Empires.

The team is constanly updating it, each update bringing much better features and now that all the bug bashing has really been done, it is content that is being brought in. Cults have been revamped, basic diplomacy is now functioning with minor factions like bandits and so on bringing all sorts of events that your decisions can affect your colony and how long it survives. Far too much to list but the future of CE is very bright indeed!

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.

Original Review:

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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62 of 72 people (86%) found this review helpful
16.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: April 7, 2015
As a fan of games that allow the player to start a civilization from a small group of people, it felt like a no-brainer to keep an eye on Clockwork Empires, and when I was given the opportunity to review it, I gladly accepted the challenge.

Without any further delay, I present to you my review of Clockwork Empires.

From the moment you start the game, you'll know that something is being done right. From the well-designed menu, to its enjoyable graphics, Clockwork Empires is a gem in the making. Your job is to start a colony, and to do so, you're given a certain amount of colonists and some materials.
The wonderfully written tutorials will also provide you the necessary knowledge to build according to your colony’s needs. While building, you'll also have to keep your colonists happy and well fed, as well as safe from all hostile units, such as the dreadful fishpeople.
The graphics are really enjoyable, and the scaling used on certain objects/units will certainly create a laugh or two.
To accompany all of the above, some nice music is put to good use, leaving the player relaxed and ready to build a new empire. Or get his whole colony destroyed by the fishpeople.

  • Excellent tutorial, with some humor to it;
  • Wide variety of materials;
  • Groovy graphics;
  • Enjoyable soundtrack;
  • Well designed crew micromanagement;
  • Large maps with plenty of resources;
  • Detailed tabs with resources available, current jobs/actions being performed, and even an event log.

I've decided to add a "Neutral" category, as they aren't gamebreakers, but could improve the gameplay if polished.

  • Sudden change of background music can sometimes be annoying;
  • Could use a couple more tooltips, mostly to tell the player where to get whatever is missing in the city;
  • Once in-game, the only way to go back to the main menu is by closing the game and restarting it;
  • Could use a delete option on the saved games, considering the files are somewhat big and you can't overwrite them;
  • The characters don't stop moving when you pause the game;
  • The AI could be improved, since characters don't stop moving while hauling/exploring, even if they're being attacked, and they also seem to choose a random table/place to go drop something.

Keep in mind the game is still in Early Access (EA), and the "Cons" mentioned below will, certainly, be tweaked and/or polished as the game gets more and more updates.

  • Excessive amount of hostile units from the very start, although sometimes it's bearable;
  • Lack of "Game Speed" function makes the game boring at times;
  • Inability to remove/cancel pretty much everything.

I'd give it a 7/10 Considering its EA status and it has an active development team, the game is bursting with life, and you can expect it to be a lot more polished by the time it gets its full release.
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70 of 88 people (80%) found this review helpful
37.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: August 15, 2014
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.
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75 of 101 people (74%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
37.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: May 22
Alright Iv thrown about 30 hours in now over a few weeks and I think I can give a fair opinion on it.. the game is alright, it has the essential qualities it needs to be this style of sandboxy-sim buildy-strategy game but it has a few big issues,

1 : the game has no grapics settings or ways to modify the settings without knowledge of manipulating the games hidden files and documents,

2: the tutorial is borderline worthless (((The new tutorial is better but I (since I know how to play) can't get a feel for how much more useful it is but it is at least improved on the original)))

3: The game is quite buggy

4: Removed. **Crashing has been made more stable and one of the causes of crashes, the trade office, has been fixed so I have removed the complaint of instability**

5: The game comes with alot of issues of game design, flattening terrain is essential but is so slow and time consuming that you'll be stunted and possible lose the game because of it, enemies are very tough and as of the current patch you cant equip new weapons, so invasion forces, bandits.. fish-people attacks, they will face you using basic pistols and likely wreck you because of it, production lines are slow and not well explained, leading to wasted resources or a lack of basic items needed to collect more basic items (stone.. where are you in my hour of need? )

6 (the big one) : the price.. now they have added a price cut for the duration of the beta-branch being launched but I paid full price for the early access version (which I am fine with) but the price is still far too high in my opinion for something that was in alpha, when its finished I can say the price would be reasonable but as it stands with the issues above, I can't reccomend it.

TL/DR The game has the basics down, has the heart and soul of a good game and has a Dev team commited to making it better but right now, the price, the issues listed and the over all feel of the game.. as much as I badly want it to finish, to work out and be great, I couldn't recommend it to a friend for fear they'd be wasting their money... as it stands, I can't recommend it right -now- but I will be editing this review over the coming weeks and hoping my opinion changes.
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37 of 41 people (90%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
111.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: March 1, 2015
A game that puts you in charge of establishing a colony for a steampunk British Empire in a world full of Lovecraftian horrors? Despite my first thought of "Mwahahaha! Thank you, Great Cthulhu! Take my money!," I decided to show a little restraint and kept an eye on Clockwork Empires for a while before making another Early Access impulse buy. At $30.00 I found it rather pricey for an Early Access game as other reviews have commented, but I finally decided to give it a try. Clockwork Empires is still very much a work in progress, it's features a mix of the impressively well done (production chains function far more smoothly than in games from bigger developers, yes, Tropico franchise, I'm looking at you) and desperatly in need of attention (the Load function appears to be a placeholder and it's just plain ugly). One thing I found particularly interesting is the colonists personality traits and observing how they influence behavior. Those with the "Morbid" trait, for example, seem more likely to eat "Long Pork" (it's people, yes, your colonitsts can engage in cannibalism) even if there is other food available. Based on the regular update history and developer responsiveness in the forums, I believe that this game will get finished - although it may take some time given the features that haven't been implemented yet - and when it does it will be a great game. It is most definatley playable in it's current state, which I'd estimate at about 40% if the developer ultimately implements all the features they've hinted at. A lot of the other 60% is going to be polish. If you're interested and can afford it, I'd go make the $30.00 investment in supporting developement. The game as it stands is already capable of providing hours of delightfully twisted fun, but then again I'm the kind of person who laughts while I watch the local wildlife maul my colonists.
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