Clockwork Empires Hands-On Preview – Gaslamp Games Goes Civilization Meets Steampunk

Gaslamp Games, a Vancouver based company, made their splash on the PC Indie gaming scene with the 2013 release of the Dungeons of Dredmor – currently available on Steam. Gaslamp had obviously done their dungeon crawling homework when creating Dredmor as it won accolades for its design which welcomed newbies and veterans equally. The game was accessible yet deep. Coupled with solid gameplay mechanics and a tongue in cheek fun approach and Dredmor was very well received. The cherry on the top was the unpredictable nature of the storyline which kept the gameplay fresh.

For their second game, Gaslamp has gathered enough confidence to venture out of the darkness of dungeons and into the light of day for empirical colonizing – thrown in with their previously established humourous twist. Clockwork Empires looks to be a mash of the Sims, Civilization and Lovecraft. Yep, you read that last bit right. Lovecraft.

Check out this trailer to see for yourself:

“Take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), sent forth to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ravenous maw of Imperial Industry & Commerce. Build a prosperous colony, fill it with magnificent factories worked by oppressed labourers, and harness the awesome power of steam through fearsome machines invented by determined men and women of Science! History is yours to seize for fame and fortune, for Science, and for the Queen and the glory of the Clockwork Empires!”

It can be easily surmised that the scope of what Gaslamp is striving to deliver with this game is much more ambitious this time around. Clockwork Empires is a Victorian mashup that takes its aesthetics from England when its Empire was at its zenith and merged it with Steampunk. Graphically the world and characters give off animated wood carvings vibes. It all lends itself to creating a vividly well realized and slightly off-kilter, 1800s colonial settlement.

The early portions of the game follow the traditional tried and true Civilization inspired game play mechanics (ie: gather resources, assign labourers to do the work, and build your world). Once your colony is established the task of keeping things and society in proper working order take on greater import.

And to keep things from becoming too predictable, rather than be faced with natural disasters, Gaslamp in its own inimitable funnybone style has gone rogue and has forged an unexpected marriage to:

“Cosmic Horror, Factories, Booze, Science, Et Cetera:Complete with all the elements for an industrial revolution, a colonial society pushed too far will break down and unleash horrors such as cultists, marauding fish-people, axe murderers, and things darker still from Beyond the Stars.”

The game is out now on Steam’s Early Access for Windows with MAC & LINUX versions scheduled to land in October. It will support sharing of game assets through saved games and successive multiplayer sessions with support for up to four players online at the same time.

Who knows what will happen next?  Gaslamp is betting you will be surprised and that this unique marriage of unlikely game playing elements will attract and delight players from all bands of the gaming spectrum.