Clay Jam iPad Review
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Screenshots, let alone words, really don't do Clay Jam justice. From the loading screens to the menus, to the gameplay itself, the artwork has been molded from stuttered clay-motion to come alive like few other games we've ever played on mobiles. It's a break-taking look that can only really be appreciated in motion.
The visuals are impressive, then, but what about the gameplay? Across a number of themed stages, the challenge is simple and blends Katamari ball-rolling into this spectacular plasticine world. You start off with a small clay pebble, and have to dig little trench routes for it to roll its way through. Your job is to guide the pebble around the screen to absorb as many clay creatures and objects as possible, so that at the end of each attempt you can purchase more upgrades and introduce new creature types into the world.
There's a snag though. If you roll into an object that's bigger than you are, you'll find yourself bouncing off it and losing a little bit of the clay you've collected. Objects marked with an exclamation mark represent over-sized danger, but everything else is fair game for rolling over, swallowing up, and expanding your color-smudged ball with. You're also being chased from behind by a fiery red wave of clay which you'll need to stay one step ahead of as you carve out routes.
There's even a fun little mini-game at the end of each run, with a different "boss" for each stage. Once you hit the final section, you'll need to furiously swipe at your clay ball to build up momentum to send him flying towards the monster. Depending on how hard you hit him he'll be knocked through the sky a certain distance, and success here(along with the distance traveled), goes towards unlocking Power Plays which give you size or speed advantages on your next attempt.
As has become the norm for more open-ended mobile games, there's a whole heap of mission objectives to be worked through too, giving some much-needed focus and direction to the game. You might need to gather up so many clay creatures of a particular type in one play session, for example, or knock that grumpy old clay monster a certain distance. It's all suitably silly stuff and accompanied with a gorgeous acoustic soundtrack that tinkers away in the background.
We get a lot of e-mails into Modojo that promise unique mobile experiences that are all too often very similar to many, many other games we've already played. Clay Jam, on the other hand, truly is a unique game. It deserves each and every one of the plaudits that have been showered upon it over the last week or so, and we're very happy to add our hearty recommendation to the pile.
What's Hot: An incredible artistic and technical achievement with very satisfying gameplay and progression.
What's Not: Creating tracks can be a little fiddly at first, but you'll adjust with practice.