CLeM Videogame Review – Iceberg Interactive – Switch Version

Image from CLeM where the main character is in a greenhouse standing in front of a statue


CLeM is gently unsettling from the very start. As you begin to explore the cartoon style mansion you find yourself in, you start off with only a diary with the word CLeM embossed on the front cover. You also don’t seem to be human, instead you walk around the halls looking like some kind of sad sack cloth doll, mismatched eyes and slow of purpose. The only thing guiding you onwards is a voice making demands to be shown examples of various qualities, the first one being ‘beauty’.

CLeM calls itself a ‘Puzzlevania’ which is meant to mean it mixes exploration and puzzle solving but also means that you unlock new tools as your progress to allow you to unlock previously inaccessible puzzles. In practice this means that as you explore the mansion you’ll come across items that you can combine to create new tools to use in puzzles, like the lock pick (which gives you a very fun minigame to play). Some puzzles require you to combine items with the environment in order to achieve progress. Other puzzles require you to make choices in order to solve the room and unlock its secrets.

CLeM manages to avoid the issues you can have with inventory puzzles, which often have you blindly guessing by trying every combination of item together. There are more Eureka moments in the game than finished frustrations and more often than not you’ll be kicking yourself for missing out on an obvious solution to a room clue. Often you’ll need to back track in order to solve a previous puzzle you’ve only seen in passing, but CLeM doesn’t overwhelm you with a thousand different progress options and normally there’s one main path you need to follow.

Presentation wise, CLeM mixes bright cartoon type graphics with an overall unsettling undercurrent as you unlock more of the diary and read notes about how the parents seem to be tormented by their child and their unique powers. The audio design is very effective especially if you play the game with headphones on which make it very well suited to the Switch platform. The audio gives another level to the overall eeriness of the game, especially when the demands are being made for more items from the disembodied voice. The only thing I’m not too fussed about is the pace of the game. In the beginning you’re only journeying between a couple of rooms but as the game expands you have to make a few trips across the smallish map but your character moves like syrup, even on the highest speed setting, which can be slightly frustrating.

CLeM does it’s best to be different in a crowded market, and a few concerns aside, it delivers fairly well on what it sets out to do. The majority of the puzzle elements will not prove too taxing but still delight when you do figure them out and you do get a feeling of constantly making some kind of progress. It’s a game best played curled up on the sofa with headphones on and a few hours to spare, and it offers an easy pick up and play so you can jump in and out without feeling forced to complete a puzzle for the sake of gaining another save point. Pleasantly surprised by this one.

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This review is based on the retail version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid monetary compensation for this review. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned.

We hope this write up gives you an idea of whether or not this game is something that you will consider playing or even add to your collection. 
Even if we don’t like something, hopefully it helps you to decide if it is something that you should find out more about. We always suggest you check out a gameplay video to give you a better understanding of the game as it is played. 

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