Honestly, I'm a little on the fence on this game, as I write this, I am not sure if I would recommend it or not. This was another small time game in the part of the horror genre that I miss dearly, and wish there are more of out there at this point. But since this type of game has been around for a while, and was more likely inspired by early Silent Hill and Lone Survivor, I would not say that it is lacking tough competitors, I've been meaning to do this for a while, so with that, let's go over the game Claire piece by piece:
Gameplay: Claire's gameplay is a bit odd, sanity management can be difficult in levels where eerie things are happening, which makes things a bit more frustrating considering one. small... detail, but I will get to that in a minute, I promise you that. Claire's mechanics mean she needs a flashlight for lighting, but there have been about 2 or 3 times where I have actually needed a flash light, I'm not sure if it helps with your sanity or anything, it's just there, and the lighter works just as well. Now one problem with Claire that is similar in Lone Survivor is the map system, oh dear lord the map system. In Lone Survivor, it wasn't as bad because they slowly, and gradually give you more and more of the map to learn and get used to, and by the time you get the new stuff, the old routes are already memorized and easy to get through, sure there's a spot or two you may miss, but most of the time, it doesn't break your game flow. With Claire, however, you are set from different location to different location very often and I do not think you go to a single one twice.
This means, once you no longer need the map and you know the place like the back of your hand, you're put in a completely different area and it's back to staring at the map, and it breaks immersion. It is also a tad difficult to figure out how maps made with ups and downs works in a 2D sidescroller at times, Also, not to spoil anything, but the monster at the end is the only one you are supposed to fight, you can't fight the others, but this one, you can, which can be a bit confusing when you got so used to hiding in closets and boxes. One thing that really annoyed me is that your loyal pet Anubis was only used to alert you when monsters were nearby, and to comfort you in a couple moments, why this annoys me is because due to a majority of the puzzles being confusing and vague, all I remember is really wishing Anubis could find notes for me or lead me to hints, anything. But that might just be me thinking about Mercy in Valiant Hearts, I just might have high expectations for friendly dog characters now.
Story: Claire's overall story and plot twist is... Well, to not spoil it, think of 3 typical horror story plot twists, and think of the common or overused ones. Chances are, one of those three, if you guessed the ending with it, was right on the money. This does not make the story bad, though, not necessarily, it's pretty hard to think up of plot twists in horror stories at times, especially a completely original one, it's still being done, but it is difficult. I don't think that's necessarily the problem with Claire, Claire's character is pretty well defined for the short time she is given, strong willed, responsible, hard to upset, as well as other features that I will not get into just yet. I think the issue is the game gives you too many answers, in a shady game with a lot of interpretation such as this one, giving this many clear answers may not be a good thing, I'm glad they're leaving that comfort zone, but a lot of things become a lot less interesting once their mystery is gone, but not explaining enough will only annoy people and nothing else, so you have to find that sweet spot of mystery and answers, and I think Claire leans too much towards answers.
Another problem is that they give a lot of small characters that are likely symbolic to Claires mindset and past, which is all well and good, but there are a lot of them, and they all usually make one impression, or depending on what you do, technically, two impressions. So some seem to not give you any information on her, and others seem like they could have done much more if given more time, and a few are downright forgettable, you can easily end up with any of the endings not interacting with every single one, just an amount depending on the ending. The game is not entirely that predictable, and doesn't give you ALL the answers, we are not certain what happened that lead to this, what the exact trigger was, or if anyone Claire used to know is still alive or not, although it is implied in one ending (Good lord this takes a lot of beating around the bush). I feel like they should have taken the Lone Survivor route, rather than about 10 characters giving you small important things to the story, and are a part of your personality and past, have 3 different types of characters that cover three different categories of the protagonist, I will tell you I can remember more about the main three illusive characters, and likely the side characters as well in Lone Survivor than the crowd in Claire. I will say one thing, though, it takes one of those crappy childhood moves in the game, and it did not go anywhere near the way I thought it was going. When they brought up an issue in the family, and violence in the family, it's incredibly unlikely you guessed which family member caused the issues when it was happening. But let's end on a lighter note on this subject before I end up spoiling the hardest to predict part of the story, I do enjoy how this game has a bit of it's own lore, Claire has her own depiction of the Carebears being her childhood enjoyment, she even has it as her ringtone for nostalgia, it must have been at least a decade that had pased and she still remembers that song, and one of the few things I remember very well in this game is the theme song to that in Claire, and good ol' sun cola.
In Summary: I do recommend this game, but not for the majority If you like Lone Survivor, and the earlier Silent Hill, you'll likely like this as well, because it's a bit more of it. The game looks nice, with a lovely bit of lighting. Even with awkward maps and a lot of side tracking, you can get a bit of enjoyment off of the development of the character and her past, it is a fairly interesting one despite the obvious parts, and there actually is some unpredictability in the bits and pieces despite what I said. If you're looking for a game that has an understandable map, more memorable side characters rather than atmosphere, something with a higher replay value than maybe 4 runs through at max, more likely than not, this is not the game for you, and with it usually being 10 dollars, I'm afraid you might be able to do better. Although I don't recommend it to all, for those who do, I bet you'll enjoy it for what it gives you.