Sawbuck Gamer

Dupe Troop

Leave Me A Clone provides a backstory for the 1-up.

By Matt Crowley • August 27, 2013

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

One of the most universal video game conceits is the extra life. Your character is stabbed, crushed, or eaten, but once he or she is dead, an exact replica appears onscreen, ready to try it all over again. The vanquished predecessor is gone and largely forgotten, useful only for the knowledge of what trap to avoid this time around. Game Ark’s Leave Me A Clone adds a new twist to this convention and offers an explanation for the metaphysical quandaries these doppelgängers pose.

You guide a fuzzy critter over spiked pits and toward the stage’s exit, dodging enemies and collecting orbs. With enough orbs, you can open a portal to the next level using your ability to clone yourself. A button press freezes the fuzzball in place, spawning a duplicate at the start of the stage—like Hugh Jackman in The Prestige. Cloning costs a life, but it’s not spent in vain: These clone cubes can block enemy fire or provide a stepping-stone from one platform to the next. For the first time, the logic behind an extra life makes sense. And while there may be something slightly creepy about a level littered with suspended fuzzball corpses—it’s no wonder that cloning remains such a controversial issue—it’s comforting to know these casualties served a greater good. Sometimes, you’re just better off a clone.

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3 Responses to “Dupe Troop”

  1. Merve says:

    Interesting concept. It’s definitely fun for a while. I got through 11 levels before calling it quits.

    Doesn’t the recently-released The Swapper use a very similar mechanic, though? Or do the clones work slightly differently in that game?

    • Matt Gerardi says:

      It’s similar, but I think the clones in The Swapper move as you move and creating one doesn’t pop you back to the beginning of an area.

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