Sawbuck Gamer

Clay Jam

What Kind Of Clay Has It Been

Clay Jam gets your fingers dirty while keeping your screen clean.

By Derrick Sanskrit • December 7, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

There’s a reason smartphones and tablets have become the most desirable toys for young children: The tactile nature of the device is ideal for people more accustomed to fingerpaint than ballpoint pens. Even though you’re just touching a pane of glass, there’s the illusion that the player is physically interacting with the world behind the screen. It’s a powerful misdirect Clay Jam uses to its advantage.

As the title suggests, every object in Clay Jam is made of modeling clay and treated like real Play-Doh. Players guide a ball of clay down increasingly crowded hills by digging trenches with their fingers. In a sort of Kindergarten Katamari, smaller creatures and objects are squished and have their clay mass added to the rolling ball in appropriately cartoonish splats. The bigger your ball, the farther you can fling the bosses at the bottom of the hills as you smash into them. Yeah, there’s a story about reclaiming the land made of clay from these beasts or whatever, but who cares? Clay!

The constant shimmying and gentle suggestions of thumbprints on every object in the world gives Clay Jam the vibe of being one great big interactive episode of Gumby. In that respect, Clay Jam could feel like a return to youth. On the other hand, if you were like me, and you found Gumby creepy and unsettling, there’s still the thrill of smashing all these wobbly clay characters into unrecognizable blobs. That’s what the big kids call a win-win.

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538 Responses to “What Kind Of Clay Has It Been”

  1. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Is this game goal-optional enough that it would be fun for young kids?  This looks like just the kind of thing I’d love to play with mine, but she’s still young enough that I don’t think it would have much value outside of prodding and interacting with the clay.

    • There are missions (squash five purple guys in a row, knock the boss 50 meters) but they’re not in any way essential to progress. You can play forever and never have a single goal stop you from playing. A warning because you’ve got kids, though, there are in-app purchases for more of the clay currency. Those are only for if you want to buy upgrades without playing the game to collect clay first (everything you squash is worth a certain amount of clay). The game is essentially just rolling a ball down a hill, only everything’s clay, so pretty kid-friendly.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        Thanks for the response.  The screenshot shows a game that looks a bit too polished to be free with no conditionals, so it makes sense there’s a store.
           I’ll just be sure to only let her play it supervised, lest I end up in debt for five hundred dollars worth of virtual clay.

        • Raging Bear says:

          Also, if you don’t happen to be aware, you can disable/password-protect in-app purchases specifically. It’s in the general settings under “restrictions.”

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          @Raging_Bear:disqus    I was not aware.  Thanks for that.

  2. WorldCivilizations says:

    Clayfighter. That is all.