I frequent Armor Games rather religiously. For those of you who haven’t allowed your productivity to be sucked away as ferociously as it could be, Armor Games is Mecca for some of the latest and greatest flash games on the web. It also--more often than not--hosts some of the crappiest flash games ever conceived. Stickmen Studios’ recent third release--Doc Clock: The Toaster Sandwich of Time--isn’t much more than a glorified flash game, and it’s not one of the good ones either.
IN DEFENSE OF THE GAME
It is a Pretty Decent Idea - Taking bits and pieces from the world around you to build things to achieve your goal sounds like a recipe for a good time. But the idea is hindered by being almost too free-form and employing a poor construction system that makes it feel more like you're playing Jenga than actually building anything.
WHY HAVE A CHEESE STEAK WHEN YOU CAN HAVE...PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY?
The Filling in the Bread is a Little Thin - I’m gonna try and be tactful here: This story is stupid. Our "hero," Doc Clock--an inventor who I think got his engineering degree from the same school that Snookie got her M.A. in Literature--creates a sandwich making machine but turns his cat into a cactus in the process (har-dee-har-har). So, what is our mad scientist to do? Build a time machine, of course! Why fix a problem when you can go back in time and prevent it from ever happening? Unfortunately, Mr. Wizard is incapable of operating his time machine and he throws himself and his trash-talking backpack two millennia into the future. And what original futuristic world should they find but one where robots rule the land and have eradicated the human race--apparently with rocks and snow balls. To thicken the plot (can you really thicken something that is paper-thin to begin with?) the time machine has been busted into pieces and the Doc must now find them all and fix his cat.
Soggy as a Poop Sandwich - As you go along controlling the Doc, you find pieces of crap with which you can build: bridges, weapons, and even an automobile. It sounds like fun but it is really more frustrating than anything. The freedom the game gives you turns out to be a liability: you have rebuild in order to fit into certain areas and in the process of doing so your whole vehicle could fall apart which makes you want to pull your eyelashes out after the thousandth time you spend rebuilding. The developer's attempt to compensate for this was by using a rewind time mechanic--a la Prince of Persia--so you don’t have to completely start over. However, this ends up being less of a true game mechanic and more of an excuse for lazy game making with the time travel theme being a plot-wise justification. There are moments when rewinding time can be just as infuriating as rebuilding.
There’s 2D and Then There’s Just Plain Lazy - Nothing about the look of Doc Clock tells me it shouldn't have just been posted to Armor Games and left to settle into the oblivion of half-assed creations with user ratings no higher than two out of ten. I’ve played plenty of flash games that are great sight more...flashier than this one. Everything is bland and pastel. The overall design seems to have been scanned directly into the computer from whatever cocktail napkin it was roughly sketched on with out much more done for the final product. This game may have held a little bit of water if it was at least nice to look at.
Doc Clock: The Toaster Sandwich of Time does not have a lot of redeeming factors. The game play and mechanics seem to be sloppily thought out and the style and look of the game aren’t much better. At best, this was a good concept that was executed lazily. I just wish I could rewind time and prevent myself from playing it to begin with.
- Collin Lucke