One Hand Clapping review (PS4)

Bad Dream Games’ One Hand Clapping was just released for all major systems, and features one of the most innovative control mechanics we’ve seen this year. Time for a closer look at the game, which is being published by HandyGames.

This isn’t the first time we’re covering One Hand Clapping though, as we noticed its unique concept earlier this year and followed up with a developer interview in which we dove into some of the design ideas and gameplay mechanics for the game. It also made us curious and eager to play the full game when it launched, which we got to do on a PlayStation 4.

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To anyone watching, One Hand Clapping will look like a fairly ordinary 2D indie platformer with colorful visuals and a cute cartoon-like main character. It doesn’t take long for the game to introduce its main gameplay mechanics though – voice control. Using your own voice, you can trigger elements in the game world by humming or singing at the right pitch, sustaining the note long enough or switching up between different notes in quick succession. And yes, because of this, you’ll need a microphone, and although the game supports a Singstar mic you’re probably better off with a headset as you’ll need your hands to hold the controller.

One hand clapping isn’t a one trick pony either, as voice control is used in a variety of ways and different levels/worlds have their own themes to them as well. What starts out as “make a sound to trigger something” quickly turns into interesting puzzles and sequences where you manipulate the positions of on-screen platforms or conjure up walkways out of thin air – all by using your voice. And even though you’re probably not holding a singstar mic while playing, the experience will feel familiar if you’ve played the iconic karaoke game before as you’re hitting and holding notes.

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Later game world focus more on different techniques as well, letting you harmonize with others and your own voice, or keeping in sync with the beat. And you don’t need to have a good singing voice for any of this, but it does help if you’re not completely tonedeaf and have decent enough timing – especially for sequences where your voice abilities have to start working in sync with your gamepad skills. If all else fails, however, then you can have the game assist you as well, but it’s recommended to at least try for yourself before turning on the assist modes.

There’s a good amount of diversity to the vocally-driven challenges that One Hand Clapping poses, and the creative spirit that underlies all that is the shining star of the experience. As a platformer it’s nothing out of the ordinary, and unfortunately the characters you meet aren’t all that memorable either as the game is low on story and narrative.

But, as the first of its kind, One Hand Clapping is a lovely experience, and the development has successfully added a sense of natural progression to the game by gradually introducing new elements and puzzle styles. One of the most original indies this year, and a lot of fun to play as well.

Score: 7.9/10

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