Clay Jam on iPad: A cute, quirky world you can touch--literally

Clay Jam review
Clay Jam review

If it wasn't Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer's trip to the Island of Misfit Toys, it was the latest episode of Gumby. Claymation is a form of entertainment that anyone born in the '70s through the early '90s remembers all too well. Before Fat Pebble's Clay Jam hit the scene, the only reminder we had today was Robot Chicken (though a damn hilarious one at that).

Developed by the UK-based studio and published by Zynga, Clay Jam is the first, if not one of the first, mobile games animated entirely in clay, stop-motion style. That fact alone is impressive enough, seeing the amount of work that went into Clay Jam. But as soon as you touch the world of Clay Jam, what Fat Pebble has done so well becomes crystal clear. Clay Jam doesn't just present a beautifully, quirkily animated world, it lets you touch it.

Sure, all mobile games let you touch them, but most times it feels as if touch could easily be swapped out with a mouse. (And, in a lot of cases, it is.) Touching Clay Jam is different. In this action roller--perhaps that's a thing now--you don't control its main character, but you guide it down the hill into various clay-made critters by gouging divots in the clay. Want to make Fat Pebble (the character, not the studio) go left? Just draw a path for the little guy with your finger.

The goal of Clay Jam is to gather enough clay in each round to send the evil clay creatures known as Bully Beasts as far as possible with a final push or two. And that final rush for speed is the only time in which you directly control Fat Pebble. This is all done to restore the clay stolen from six different hills and send the Bully Beast back to ... somewhere. The connection between saving this world and rolling into monsters isn't ever made clear, but this isn't a plot-driven game anyway.
As players amass clay, reach new distances in launching enemies and earn clay, they can spend that clay on new enemies to populate each hill (and later crush). But perhaps a more interesting use of that clay is Power Plays, which beef up Fat Pebble, making him faster and larger for a single round. But you're not coming back for the progression mechanics so much as you're coming back just to interact with this goofy world one more time.

What Clay Jam lacks (at least at the moment) in social features it more than makes up for in crafting--by hand--an interesting world filled with life and character. Given that the game is free to play, it's impossible not to recommend Clay Jam (and Zynga was smart in picking it up). While you're at it, maybe drop Fat Pebble--the studio, not the character--a dollar or two so that it can make more games as endearing as this.

Clay Jam
Clay Jam

Click here to download Clay Jam on iOS and here on Android Now >

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