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Clan O'Conall and the Crown of the Stag

Clan O'Conall and the Crown of the Stag

Switch between three unique characters in this new action platformer

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Clan O'Conall and the Crown of the Stag is a new action platformer, which is fun, engaging, and beautiful. Its main attraction is its character switching feature, so even though its narrative is weak and forgettable, it more than makes up for it with its fluidity and ingenuity.

Clan O'Conall and the Crown of the StagClan O'Conall and the Crown of the Stag

As for the story, you play as the three O'Conall siblings: Haggish, the lumbering brute; Kilcannon, the mighty warrior; and Clakshot, the nimble sharpshooter. A demon has kidnapped Chief Arden, and stolen the Crown of the Stag in the hopes of inciting a war between mortals and the Fae: fairy-folk in Celtic myth, and it's your job to stop it and recover the crown. Pretty simple, but it works well, because it provides just the right amount of a backdrop without intruding on the gameplay or the art-style.

Moment-to-moment gameplay feels responsive and fun. The three characters handle differently, with unique abilities for each - gained either through the course of the story or by levelling up in-between levels. Character switching is instant and some sections require quick-thinking to manoeuvre across platforms, for example during an early level you are chased by a giant boar, and must change characters to do some tricky platforming to escape. (It took me a few tries). There are also puzzles, which are cleverly designed but not too difficult, though they're all pretty satisfying. The only issue I found was Clakshot's grappling hook often doesn't find its target, despite being quite close to the grappling points. Ultimately though, the gameplay is Clan O'Conall's strongest element.

Each level is filled with fairies, to collect - used for levelling, and I had no problem collecting the majority, since they are on the main path. There are also a number of secret bags of fairies to collect, which can generally be seen off to the side whilst progressing. Some might see this as a downside, but I'm not a fan of collectibles in platformers so I found this as a definite plus.

Clan O'Conall and the Crown of the StagClan O'Conall and the Crown of the Stag

Alongside this gameplay there's a beautiful art-style, which suits the game excellently, being hand-drawn and depicting figures from Celtic myth with an impressive sense of scale and beauty. The art-style particularly complements the scenery, from forests to fens to snowy mountain peaks, and make these areas feel unique.

Performance-wise, on PC I encountered only the occasional stutter, otherwise it was perfect. I did however have an issue with the camera - in one particular area (the mountain) I was prevented from accessing a secret area as the camera would not pan to show me it.

Other than that an issue I did face within these areas was the variety of enemies, since there aren't many. The most interesting enemy is the siren, who must be eliminated by ringing bells nearby, but most of the others are a type of undead. Saying this, the bosses are excellent, with each having multiple phases and distinct designs. An example is Jack-in-Irons, who you face early on, later returning with completely new patterns. None are too difficult, but each is a satisfying defeat.

Another thing I should mention is the length of the game, since it can be completed in around five or six hours. I found this the perfect length to encourage a replay and not produce any filler sequences, but some might find this too short.

Ultimately, Clan O'Conall and the Crown of the Stag is a wonderful action platformer, which remains exciting to play until its conclusion. While its narrative is weak, it doesn't detract from its innovative character switching mechanic and its lovely hand-drawn art-style.

Clan O'Conall and the Crown of the Stag
Clan O'Conall and the Crown of the StagClan O'Conall and the Crown of the StagClan O'Conall and the Crown of the Stag
08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
+
Innovative character switching mechanic. Beautiful art-style. Unique bosses.
-
Simple narrative. Not enough enemy variety. Lack of collectibles might impact replayability for some.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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