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Clockwork Empires Offers Endless Laughs, Ageless Demons

You'll have to pry this already mostly eaten fish from my cold, dead hands!

If you place some kind of weird one-trailer-per-day restriction on yourself and are currently fretting about finding Mr or Ms Right: The Extremely Brief Videogame Preview, then look no further. Clockwork Empires, the latest ball of bits and bytes from Dungeons of Dredmor developer Gaslamp Games, just got its first trailer, and it’s sending RPS’ hyper-sensitive Delight-O-Meter into a tizzy. The game is a 19th century steampunk colony builder, but the trailer reveals that it’s so very much more than the staid stew of trite aesthetic cliches that description seems to imply. Somehow, it manages to prompt tearfloods of both uproarious laughter and bitter sadness within the span of, like, a minute. Also, there are giant squid monsters. Enough of my blathering. Watch.

Clockwork Empires is almost entirely freeform. You can expand your colony along lines laid down by “The Empire,” or you can shack up with another faction/none at all. Meanwhile, as the trailer suggests, many, many, many surprises await no matter how you choose to play.

“Cosmic Horror, Factories, Booze, Science, Et Cetera: Clockwork Empires is complete with all the elements for an industrial revolution, a colonial society pushed too far will break down and unleash horrors such as cultists, marauding fish-people, axe murderers, and things darker still from Beyond the Stars.”

That’s quite a melting pot of potential madness, and I’m pretty keen on seeing how it all comes together. Gaslamp’s pristine track record doesn’t hurt either, given that Dungeons of Dredmor was more brillo than a Brillo Pad. Can it inject the same deceptively careful measure of both randomness and calculation into a sandbox city building sim, though? We shall see. It’ll be out in spring 2014.

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Nathan Grayson

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