Quirky is about the only way to accurately describe the efforts of indie developer Ninja Bee. After the oddball strategy title Outpost Kaloki X, Cloning Clyde takes the platforming genre and adds their own trademark twist for a fast-paced little adventure. Smooth mechanics, unique set up, and superb level design make this another winner for the Xbox Live Arcade.
Clyde is a character stuck inside a research lab where cloning is running rampant. By finding certain machines, he can either clone himself multiple times or morph together with either an animal or inanimate object. This leads to numerous situations in the game where the provided machine is the only way to make it out.
While full of typical platforming mechanics, Clyde is definitely a puzzle game at heart. Level design ensures you'll need to utilize almost every clone to make it out of a level. Working together, like the classic Lost Vikings, swapping between upwards of 20 Clydes is a simple process. The solution isn't always difficult, and sometimes it's obvious. Other times, you'll go way past the par time in your quest to send the bare bottomed hero to the next level.
Hidden action figures, health, and a special move DNA power-ups litter the levels. The action figures only have one purpose, which is an additional set of Achievement points for collecting them. The majority of the Achievements are easily earned. The only tricky one is attempting to clear every level under par time.
Cloning Clyde awards exploration with some wonderful moments that send the human test subject flying through the stage, blasted by rockets, or catapulted. A lot can be missed if you make a beeline for the exit. Its sense of humor adds to the charm, making up for the rather bland, flat graphical style.
Outside of the adventure, Xbox Live and local multiplayer is available for replay value. Co-op is exactly what would be expected, as split screen action has players taking on levels together. Versus play is a mad dash to destroy each other's security robots while hopefully not leaving your own open to an assault. It's a fun diversion, but for some reason, lacks the hook games like Marble Blast Ultra brought with them. The concept as a whole feels better suited to a single player affair.
While not a game to set the platforming or puzzle genre on fire, its addition is welcome. Ninja Bee has crafted an entertaining and clueless hero character inside a game perfectly suited to his personality. Ignoring the multiplayer, it's hard to find faults in this cute adventure.
Cloning Clyde is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Crude Humor and Cartoon Violence.