Sawbuck Gamer

Clockwork Cat

The Time Is Meow

The time-rewinding Clockwork Cat feels appropriately youthful.

By Matt Crowley • September 4, 2013

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

What would make a hedgehog want to collect rings or make a plumber grow when exposed to fungus? Old video games often don’t make sense, but as long as they’re fun, there’s no need to poke holes in the fanciful logic. Far from a feline equivalent of the similarly titled Anthony Burgess novel and Kubrick film, Clockwork Cat is a soft and sweet adventure that recalls the whimsy of those olden days. You control a wrench-wielding cat who jumps across the beams of a clock tower, stopping the clock from reaching midnight by cranking magical cogs and rewinding time. There’s no backstory or rationale for this conceit, but that capriciousness is part of its charm.

With a lilting score and nighttime setting, Clockwork Cat emanates a dreamy Peter Pan quality as you zip to and fro in front of a Big Ben-like clock face, high above the city. There’s also a bit of Peter Pan in the adorable pixelated cat, intent on turning back the clock and remaining a kitten forever. It’s streamlined and short, but it invites a second and third go-round. There’s something comforting about its carefree and innocent disregard for narrative. The game’s lack of a pause button is annoying but also metaphorically potent: Try though you might to stop it (or turn it back, as this kitten’s mission demands) time keeps moving forward.

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7 Responses to “The Time Is Meow”

  1. boardgameguy says:

    well that was absolutely adorable

  2. Merve says:

    I liked this one a lot. Simple, short, sweet, and utterly adorable. I’m sure Soupy would approve.

  3. Marozeph says:

    I’m always amazed what the Ludum Dare guys manage to pull of in 48 hours. I probably couldn’t even come up with a decent idea in that time.

  4. TreeRol says:

    A companion piece to the Futurama finale.