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Ben and Dan finally delve into the Lair of the Clockwork God this month

Once, long ago, Size Five Games’ Ben-and-Dan ’em up Lair of the Clockwork God was gunning for a Summer 2019 release. But last July, Size Five pushed the release back into late 2019, perhaps even 2020. There was a bit of last-minute tuning to do, sure – but more than that, Dan was worried his plucky platformer might struggle for air. Last year had a few bangers – and beneath the likes of Death Stranding, Call of Duty, Jedi: Fallen Order n’ that, who’d pay attention to a silly little puzzle-platformer?

But whether they’re confident in next month’s lack of competition, or simply decided they can’t keep sitting on Clockwork God forever, the pair have settled on a concrete release date – with a new trailer revealing a February 21st debut for Ben and Dan’s next adventure.

Here’s the scoop: Ben and Dan (developers Ben Ward and Dan Marshall, creating yet more fanfiction of themselves) can’t agree on what hip genre their next game should be. Ben, the classic adventure buff, wants some good ol’ pointing and clicking adventures – while Dan’s certain it’s still 2013, and indie platformers are the best route to a quick buck.

Rather than compromise, Clockwork God reckons it can do both. You’ll be dashing through sidescrolling tracks, punctuated by moments of classic 90s pixel-hunting and puzzle-solving, “in a race-against-time effort to stop all the Apocalypses happening simultaneously by teaching an old computer about feelings.”

Now, I mind Ben There, Dan That! and Time Gentlemen, Please! being impossible to avoid back in the day. Why, you couldn’t move for quirky British antics in Steam sales and Humble bundles – the latest trailer even admits as such, noting that they’re “already definitely in your Steam library, even if you can’t quite remember how”.

But it’s been almost half a decade since Ben and Dan’s last adventure, and puzzle-platforming-with-a-twist just ain’t the draw it used to be. Kids these days, they’re all into 100-player deathmatches or utterly obtuse games of wizard-chess. If Clockwork God is going to achieve “indie classic” status (and Dan very much wants it to), it’ll need every advantage it can get.

With February’s lineup looking pretty barren right now, Size Five are taking their chances. Lair of the Clockwork God will release on Steam on February 21st – just ignore that the store page still claims it’s all TBD.

Disclosure: Our Alice O seems to know these Ben and Dan blokes quite a bit. Not that I can check – it’s the weekend, and she’s probably a mile out to sea by now.

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Natalie Clayton

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