Game Reviews

Trial of the Clone

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| Trial of the Clone
Trial of the Clone
| Trial of the Clone

Tin Man Games is very good at what it does, and its new gamebook Trial of the Clone lends further weight to that point.

Here's a developer that's confident enough to tinker with its own formulas and comfortable enough working with some of the biggest names in geek culture to create an entertaining, intensely enjoyable gamebook adventure.

It might not have the undead slaughtering heft of Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies, or the nostalgic twang of Fighting Fantasy: House of Hell, but Trial of the Clone is funny enough to render all that immaterial.

With Tin Man's slick game book interface pushing proceedings along, you can't help but get swept up in this dark, hilarious tale.

Far from a trial

Penned by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal writer Zach Weinersmith, Trial of the Clone chronicles the story of a vat-grown future human making his way through the universe.

Unfortunately, this particular clone is a bit of an idiot. I mean, he has a penchant for accidental mass murder and terrible puns, and he's as likely to destroy the galaxy as he is save it.

As the narrative unfolds, you are left to make the important choices. The path you walk has an effect on the equipment you get, the scraps you'll fight, and how dead you end up.

You can choose to have the story read to you by geek legend Wil Wheaton or just flip through the pages yourself, exploring the Star Wars jokes, science fiction tropes, and bumbling characters that you'll meet along the way.

Either way, you'll be laughing out loud. A lot. With Trial of the Clone, Tin Man walks the line between self-parody and misfiring in-joke perfectly, with its sci-fi gags, one-liners, and bursts of hilariously accidental violence guaranteed to make anyone with a sense of humour chuckle.

Clone Guffaws

The game mechanics in Trial of the Clone are pared down in comparison to the dice-rolling systems employed in Tin Man's back catalogue.

Here, there's a spinning random number generator that spits out a figure between '0' and '3'. In scraps, that number is added to your fight statistic and denotes how much damage you inflict on your foe.

For skill checks, you get three chances to spin high enough to continue. Fail, and you'll inevitably die. That's not too much of a problem, though, for your deaths are usually gloriously blood splattered and jolly.

Trial of the Clone represents another tick next to Tin Man's name, and shows it's as comfortable with violent self-deprecating sci-fi humour as it is with more traditional adventure book fare.

Trial of the Clone

An hilariously entertaining new addition to the gamebook genre, Trial of the Clone is a brilliant way to spend a rainy afternoon
Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.