Clive ‘N’ Wrench review (PS5)

Ambitious 3D buddy platformers are a lot more rare these days then they were when Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter and Banja-Kazooie starred in adventure after adventure. Clive ‘n Wrech, from developer Dinosaur Bytes Studio and Numskull Games, is here to fill that void. It’s out now for nearly every system apart from Xbox, and we reviewed it on a PlayStation 5.

The titular duo in this game consists of Clive, who’s a rabbit, and his buddy Wrench – a tiny little monkey who mostly latches onto Clive’s back. Together they tackle a time-traveling narrative across 11 different worlds, which will feel somewhat familiar if you regularly play games in this genre. Speaking of which – you’ll notice that the closest counterpart for Clive ‘n Wrench is Banjo-Kazooie, for better and for worse. It has all the large open levels you’ve gotten to know in that game, plenty of collectibles spread around them, and some nice diverse objectives to chase after.


It’s also “retro” to a fault though, so despite a new pair of heroes you’ll notice a lot of elements that were “borrowed” from what came before – jumping and spinning like we’ve seen so many other protagonists do. Clive’s pretty fast on his feet though, and because of that you can sprint around at quite a high pace in between some of the trickier platforming sections. You get the bulk of your moveset right away and between both characters there are quite a few, but although it may take a while before you’re comfortable getting a flow going Clive ‘n Wrench feels pretty good once you do.

While Clive’s specialty is traversal and Wrench is very strong for his size, the both of them also work together – the way that Clive spins Wrench about his head as a propeller to get a bit of extra airtime never stopped to entertain us. And with the variation between locations and plenty of collectibles and easter eggs to find, it’s a joy to just go around and explore instead of just chasing after (rather samey) objectives.


What’s a shame is that, even on the PS5, the game’s performance fluctuates a bit. One moment everything’s smooth and colorful, and then you’ll see a few visual glitches or a bit of slowdown the next. Since this is a game that’s also being released on the Switch we can’t imagine the hardware’s the bottleneck, so hopefully a few post-launch updates will fix this. It’s fine if a game is “retro” in its approach and we’ll even accept the sometimes awkward camera for this reason, but we do expect smooth performance – and it’s especially noticeable in a game that thrives on speed and traversal like this one.

Other than those technical issues, Clive ‘n Wrench is a fun little platformers that relies heavily on nostalgia for the titles that inspired it. It’s not looking to reinvent the wheel but it’s got an endearing cast of protagonists and some excellent and highly diverse level designs. So if you’re expecting something radically new then you might come away disappointed, but if you want a heavy dose of nostalgia then Clive ‘n Wrench has that for you – just make sure you check and see if it received a post-launch update to fix up those performance issues first.

Score: 7.0/10

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