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 (159 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 (18)

February 18

Clockwork Empires February Update: The Mists of Antipodea!

Our February update is now up on Steam! The game has evolved and improved significantly in the six months we've been at this. Highlights of today's patch include:

  • Fog of war (if your colonists can’t see it, it becomes shrouded in dark fog!)
  • Character-driven events
  • Job balance overhaul (especially social and combat jobs)
  • Start of significant improvements to cult system

We did it! The changelog is once again too long to fit on a Steam update! If you want to find out what else we have been up to, 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!

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January 21

Clockwork Empires January Update: Enola Brimble’s FINE DAY In Which Everything ISN’T Going To Explode

Our January update is now up on Steam! Whoa, that's a lot of monthly updates. Highlights of today's patch include:

  • Dustier Dust!
  • Mines and module maintenance!
  • Lots of UI/UX improvements!
  • A multitude of fixes, listed below, which embody a perhaps semi-successful attempt to make the “theme”, if you will, of this monthly update the fact that we didn’t focus on one easy-to-describe feature!

  • FIXED: rendering errors on particle systems
  • job system performance improvement
  • FIXED: save game crash caused by having dirty objects in the rendInteractiveObjectClassHandler cleanup list when you save (we think)
  • FIXED: rendering errors on particle systems
  • starting supplies now drop from the sky (look out!)
  • balance: immigration and favour events fire less often
  • FIXED: supply drop event will no longer inform you that you’ve requested zero items when you forgo a supply drop
  • balance: made colonists less hungry on gamestart (unless they’re criminals)
  • FIXED: when you call a Naturalist via favour, you actually get a naturalist now rather than an artisan
Human Characters
  • FIXED: Rewrote memory utility code to correctly update and set moods from memories without having half-crazed, volatile mood swings.
  • FIXED: starvation was checking a value 10x what it should have been
  • FIXED: soldiers now actually move to rally beacons
  • FIXED: colonists no longer believe that raw coconuts are a cooked food
  • added Zzz particles to sleeping
  • balance: removed starting naturalist (you must earn one via favour)
  • removed extra pouches from the Scientist models (with apologies to Rob Liefeld)
  • FIXED: “forage due to starvation” job wasn’t triggering
  • started overhaul of job balance
  • (added new internal tool for balancing job requirements and utilities; this is super cool for us and will ultimately mean a better-balanced game experience for you).
  • FIXED: disappearing hair bug
  • cleanup of character hair models & model defs (more varieties of hair will show up)
  • unique macroscope use animations added
  • FIXED: de-assigned science workers wouldn’t give up their uniforms
  • FIXED incorrect icons for eating human flesh
  • FIXED: hunger no longer goes negative after character eats when not very hungry
  • Rewrote memory utility code to correctly update and set moods from memories without having half-crazed, volatile mood swings.
  • made artisans less interested in doing paperwork at night
  • removed “idle in chair” so that there will be free chairs for people to eat in, ever
  • Naturalists will form work crews (though labourers assigned to naturalist work crew don’t do anything special yet)
Combat & Military
  • All work crew filters are disabled when a unit becomes conscripted. Filters are then reset to the default when conscripting a unit.
  • soldiers do pushups
  • FIXED: colonists would beat up dead bandits, calling it a “melee counterattack”
Animals, Monsters
  • balance: made animals less hungry on gamestart
  • (started on burrowing animals but it’s not player-visible)
Buildings, Zones, Modules, Jobs
  • FIXED: lag when placing buildings or creating modules.
  • FIXED: civilization maps now computed correctly
  • FIXED: Doors now render 1OU above the building footprint as ghosts, so they won’t clip through the building any more.
  • FIXED: we now check whether we are in the same connected component (or not) as items when using them to fill gameSimRequireGameObject requests (this helps fix the case where individual units go nuts not being able to get to materials)
  • FIXED: typo in “Make Gunpowder” job
  • added sounds to airdrop crate
  • renamed some modules to show clear progression of materials ( eg. stone oven -> iron oven )
  • added bamboo farming (for timber)
  • added module damage: after a module is used a number of times it will become damaged and require repair using a random material used to build the module
  • if a damaged module is used enough, it will become inoperative and require repair before it can be used
  • FIXED: “not enough logs to build gabions despite having lots of logs” bug
  • added “walls down” building display mode
  • FIXED: current building display mode now apply to newly created buildings
Biomes & Terrain
  • FIXED: bamboo (in the wild) wasn’t using “small” variation
  • balance: added more timber to tropical biome
  • balance: reduced clumping of ore nodes in certain jungle biome
Multiplayer / Scripting System
  • Ownership: objects can now be marked (internally) as being “owned” or “not owned” by a player ( or other group, i.e. bandits )
  • FIXED: Slowdown with large numbers of characters testing for interrupts, caused by round trips to and from Lua system code
  • added loading screen.
  • Right-clicking a stockpile filter will enable ONLY that filter.
  • Right-clicking a work crew filter will enable ONLY that filter.
  • Added debug messages to try and catch more save game issues
  • Q and E now rotate the camera left and right
  • SHIFT-Click now places multiple modules at once.
  • clicking workshop icons in workshop window now zooms to workshop location
  • FIXED: work crew panel slowdown, take II (the work crew UI should not slow down the game anymore)
  • FIXED: colonist panel slowdown (related to above)
  • FIXED: building grid disappears when switching between two building types
  • FIXED: “Show all commodities” filter now toggles to “Hide All Commodities” as well
  • FIXED: UI gets cut off in work party menu switching from all workers to military sometimes
  • Right-clicking a stockpile filter will enable ONLY that filter.
  • Right-clicking a work crew filter will enable ONLY that filter.
Other Art
  • dust particles effects made more dusty
  • fix-up pass through particle effects done

You can find the full changelog on the dev blog.

The development progress page has also been updated, with exhaustive notes on the status of the project, as well as more details on the stuff we included above.

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!

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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
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
11.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 31
Early Access Review
This is a great game but is still in alpha so it will be buggy . The game has that sort of dark humor and can be very funny at times, also it takes place in a steampunk world . The game is getting better by every update and if you like the survival/ city building you will love this game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 5
Early Access Review
This game has immense potential! It is unique in foundation but bears resemblance to The Settlers and Tropico series (so I find). I am keen to see where this game goes in the future. Here are my thoughts on where the game could improve:

* The option to name colonies and change the name of colonists.
* A more chic UI that is more polished.
* Easier access to modules (I find finding specific decorations etc. to be more congestive than other games).
* Exterior decorations (roads, gardens, fountains, statues etc.)

They're just some initial ideas from my 78 minutes of gameplay. I don't regret the purchase, although I am very keen for some more development.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 21
Early Access Review
Quite like towns.... minus the developer cheating you out of your hard earned cash and then pretty much telling you to ♥♥♥♥ off.... These guys are currently doing it right and in the two updates since I have started playing they have been more than helpful and acceptive of the players feedback. This game is more than just a Towns "Clone" animated combat and a much more diverse set of things that can go wrong. The game revolves around you expanding for the Queen. Dropped off from the airship into a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ you must begin making your mark on the world. Building is quite gratifying and when your troops hold off a raid of enemies it does give a smile. Then if your people are hungry they can have a few Manwiches and get back to work.

If you are on the fence continue waiting. If you wish to support Gaslamp then HOP RIGHT IN! Help shape this game to be the dark humorous experience that it will be.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
9.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 11
Early Access Review
Very charming, lots of potential, although it still has a long way to go.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 15
Early Access Review
Just remember its alpha and still has tons of bugs but it does have potential
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
8.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 15
Early Access Review
I cannot wait for this game to be developed more! Right now there are incomplete features and plenty of bugs and crashes, however, there is so much charm and potential for a fanstastic block buster of a colonial victorian town/adventure game that I have to recommend this to everyone who loves taking control of a rag tag group of colonists and leading them to glory... or ruin! Either way its a ton of fun!
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 19
Early Access Review
Shows alot of promise to be a really fun game. At the moment, I recommend only buying the game if you want to check out the style of it and the gameplay. I do not recommend buying it for playing it, wait for more updates or better yet, out of EA. At the moment it is still far too buggy (eg animals trapped in buildings, colonists geting stuck on trees) and sometimes unresponsive (eg exploring, wont hunt animals).
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 20
Early Access Review
FPS behaves oddly on Mac for the moment - huge potential

So would recommend mac users support regardless until FPS issue resolved.
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16 of 16 people (100%) found this review helpful
29.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 20, 2014
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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14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 14
Early Access Review
The game is unpolished, weird, and highly amusing. In other words, exactly what you'd expect from Gaslamp Games, the company that brought you the wonderful Dungeons of Dredmor, which was also unpolished and weird in its early days, and highly amusing even today. The dev team has been hard at work and it shows. Each update is a significant improvement to an already enjoyable experience. This one is well worth your time and money.
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12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
9.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 26, 2014
Early Access Review
I bought this game not expecting much as it's in early alpha but already I've seen enough to know I made the right choice of buying it. At the moment there are some quite rough bugs in that are getting worked out but when they are I'm sure it'll be one of the better games in the genre! Kudos, Gaslamp!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
40.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 26
Early Access Review
Game is in Alpha but playable for me. I do the experimental build. I had a few issues with bugs but the Devs are quick to respond and that's what Alpha is all about. Also the updates seem to pack a lot of new stuff in which is great I can see progress is being made. I do not reget buying in Alpha, it is a ton of fun and the bugs don't take much away from it. I do wish when your colony got big there was less lag when you get in colonists the game does slow down quite a bit but still playable. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a sim/city builder with a different story line.
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10 of 10 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 20, 2014
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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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 16, 2014
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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34 of 55 people (62%) found this review helpful
18.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 22, 2014
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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A developer has responded on Dec 18, 2014 @ 5:44pm
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 21, 2014
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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12 of 19 people (63%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 12
Early Access Review
There's something hilarious about watching fishmen get shot in the throat with blunderbussi.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
24.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 25, 2014
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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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 25, 2014
Early Access Review
Great game for an early access! tons of upcoming features, and if you like the sims, space colony, or simcity this is the game for you.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 4, 2014
Early Access Review
Oh its a fun game..just crashed and I would love it if you had more control on your units, would be really fun imo!
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