Clea | A Dark Birthday | Nintendo Switch Review. - EllexMay

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Friday, 30 October 2020

Clea | A Dark Birthday | Nintendo Switch Review.


Publisher: InvertMouse & Sekai Project
Developer: InvertMouse
Switch Review

*Disclaimer: I was sent the code for this game in return for a review, all opinions are mine and mine alone. 

Now that Halloween is here I can tell you all about the latest game I played through called Clea. It may not look the most appealing but Clea is a lot more than just a horror game, it's also a 2D puzzle and adventure game in it's own way. Clea comes from the indie studio InvertMouse who have a very particular style of art, they have produced many visual novels over the years and Clea seems like a new venture for them due to the style of game. The cast is very minimal because Clea is such a short game this isn't surprising, this game is also part of a franchise and the first game has just recently been released on Nintendo Switch (first released on Steam) and Clea 2 will be released later on this year. 


Clea starts off in a room with her brother Ed, herself and a woman called Florine who works in the Whitlock Mansion, the three are celebrating Clea's birthday when some very strange noises start happening. Whilst Florine goes to find out what happens Clea and her Ed are left alone with no choice but to find out how to escape the mansion. Clea is very stealthy and requires you to listen carefully, it's best to use a headset to fully immerse yourself and listen in on footsteps from beings called chaos servants, If they come close to you they will either catch up and kill you or you must do all you can to out run and hide from them because they can catch you.

There are various rooms you have to make your way through in order to escape, some you have to try to unlock but some are already unlocked, these rooms help you find pieces of keys and medicine/candles which warn away chaos servants for a period of time. Clea herself is a very strange child who has her own demon inside of her, once you merge together its able to warn you of any approaching Chaos Servants even if you can bear them which makes you feel a little more secure and more warning to hide. Be warned though, as soon as you start running and making any noise the Chaos Servant will be on your ass pretty quickly so make sure you get to where you need to go before they get to you. I found myself trapped waiting for them to move on to another level of the mansion so I had to use a candle to deter them and move them on elsewhere, I also realised I could use sound to my advantage at times and would make use of flushing toilets to draw the chaos servants away from areas I needed to get to.


These Chaos Servants didn't appear from nowhere, the children's parents had been experimenting on them and they are now on the loose making their way around the mansion and killing anything that crosses their path, there is something very sinister about this especially when it involves children, this is what worried me the most whilst playing, I wanted to make sure they survived more than anything unfortunately, this wasn't always the case and it took me a while to get use to being stealthy. The game is designed to lock you out of the mansion and force you to explore as much as you can, save points are birthday cakes and you will have to make your way to certain parts of the mansion again to save there, I found that it was fundamental that I saved as much as I could as when you die you could be thrown back to an early save (like I did) and have to go through the puzzles and tasks again, this also gives you an advantage because you can solve them quicker the second time around.

Don't waste your time hoping to come across a weapon to fight monsters, you won't be given one, your task is to outwit them and do everything in your power to help you and your brother escape all whilst paying close attention to your surroundings to help solve puzzles. I started out with the light difficulty to get the general idea of the game and came to realise it wouldn't be as easy as I first thought, you are given 2 different levels to start off with and once you get passed the game you can unlock more, with the added bonus of being able to change Clea's costume and set the game to a harder level you have more gameplay value than first thought.


The change in mood you feel whilst moving around the creepy mansion adds to the intensity, although they made your surroundings simplistic they are needed more than ever, I utilised the cupboards and bathrooms as best as I could and then I was faced with having to listen out for spiders that would kill you if you faced your back towards them. By adding more than one enemy it forces you to think about your moves and how best to get to where you need to go, I found this a big task at times but as I'm not the best at stealth or puzzle games I wasn't surprised. The devs certainly implemented ways to get your mind working and forcing you to face your fears, the cleverly thought out mechanisms of the game either have a way of working for you or against you, it's your move on how the situation will end.

After each chapter you will be told if you completed certain tasks, you can keep track of these in your menu if you're competitive and want to get through the game by at least completing a few to make it easier on the next time you play, obviously I was awful at keeping track of this and wanted to concentrate on how best to get out of the mansion more than anything. If you have any hearing problems or are deaf, this game wouldn't be accessible enough for you as it relies heavily on the use of sound, some could try make it work for them through vibrations of the switch, I'm hard of hearing most times and kept the game turned to the highest volume just so I didn't miss any ques that monsters were near. 


Jump scares are something Clea makes clear won't happen, I hate them and they usually put me off playing, Clea however uses your choices and actions to decide what your fate ends up being, from the vibe of the gameplay it reminded me of American Mcgee Alice, Clea's outfit gives off them vibes, although Clea seems to be a lot more sinister considering her and her brother were locked in the mansion by their own, but why? Well you will have to play for yourself to find out!

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