Clam Man is a video game series by Team Clam, taking place in an underwater city inhabited by anthropomorphic sea creatures. The first game, Clam Man, was released on Steam on May 23, 2019. Clam Man 2: Open Mic, published by Team Clam but developed by marafrass, was released for free on June 19, 2020. This game is described as a "prologue" to an upcoming sequel, Clam Man 2: Headliner.
The games center around Clam Man, the recently promoted Junior Sales Executive at the Snacky Bay Prime Mayonnaise company in the city of Snacky Bay. In the first game, things take an unexpected turn for the worse when Clam Man's coworker, Lindsey, is mysteriously fired, and Clam Man himself is fired shortly afterwards. Clam Man begins to suspect that his former boss is involved in a conspiracy, and takes it upon himself to investigate.
The game focuses more on storytelling and humor than on gameplay or tricky puzzles. However, there are a few puzzles in the first game. Notably, one puzzle late in the game lets players choose the difficulty, with the easy difficulty being recommended for players who are mostly playing for the story.
Open Mic switches from a 2D point-and-click adventure to an RPG with some point-and-click adventure elements. This game takes place four years after the first. Pete is now the CEO of the mayonnaise company, and Clam Man has gotten his job back. The game begins when Clam Man and Pete discover that the office building has a secret floor, which houses a comedy club that three comedians have been building in secret. The club is to open that night, but the comedians need advertising. Clam Man realizes he is interested in doing stand-up comedy, so he sets off on a quest to come up with three good jokes and get the word out about the comedy club.
This game has a Characters page in progress. Please move character tropes there.
Tropes relating to the series overall:
- Black Bead Eyes: Nearly every character has these, due to the Thick-Line Animation style.
- Protagonist Title: Clam Man is the name of both the series and its main protagonist.
- Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: The games go all over the scale. Most of the characters are Beast Man, having humanlike body structures with enough animal characteristics to identify them as specific sea creatures. A few are Funny Animals, especially ones who are animals like octopuses and stingrays, which are harder to anthropomorphize. And then there are some Little Bit Beastly characters like Lindsey and Edna, who look close to humans by the standards of the series' art style, but have seashells on their heads, making it clear that they're some sort of shellfish.
- Thick-Line Animation: The art style uses thick black borders with a sketchy look.
- World of Funny Animals: The game takes place in a world of anthropomorphic sea creatures.
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: Deconstructed. Clam Man lives in a very poor part of the city. The buildings are all broken and run down, crime is frequent, and it's implied that many inhabitants of the area are homeless. As it turns out, many people in other parts of the city have complained about how that one area makes the rest of the city look bad, so Mayor King is plotting to demolish the whole area to maintain his PR. Downplayed in Open Mic, which shows that there are more working-class people than homeless people in the area, and there's no crime that we see. However, the area is still littered with trash, and the buildings are still quite run down.
Tropes in the first game:
- Big Bad: Clam Man initially suspects the mastermind to be "Loud Mouth," the apparent leader of the mafia, but it turns out to be Mayor King, who is manipulating the mafia and Clam Man's former boss in a bid to destroy Clam Man's neighborhood.
- Curse Cut Short: The opening song cuts to the next scene when the singer is about to say that Clam Man's life is turning to sh-
- Disney Owns This Trope: Played for Laughs. There are two rival shopkeepers selling sandbags on the street. The second shopkeeper says he isn't allowed to call his products "sandbags" because the first shopkeeper owns the rights to that word. So he calls his products "small rock cloth containers." He still slips up and says "sandbag" a few times, though.
- Lying to Protect Your Feelings: Played for Laughs. Natalya, the landlord's young daughter, tries to calculate how much rent Clam Man has to pay now that her father has increased the rent. She guesses "thirteen rents," which is wrong.note The player is then given a choice between telling her she's wrong, or saying she got it right. Choose the latter, and she'll respond with "Yay!"
- Threatening Shark: Averted. A hammerhead shark appears as a cop at one point. He's not threatening, but very apathetic.
- Video Game Caring Potential:
- At the beginning of the game, when Clam Man is at his desk, he frequently gets calls from customers. Even though you're supposed to be going to the boss' office, you can still answer the phone and try your best to help the customers out. You get an achievement for doing this three times.
- When Natalya incorrectly guesses how much Clam Man's rent has been increased, you can tell her she got it right just to make her happy.
- Villainous Gentrification: Implied. The Big Bad's plan is mostly just to demolish Clam Man's neighborhood because it's the Wrong Side of the Tracks. He makes no mention of building anything in its place, but considering all the construction equipment he and his minions have, it's possible that he could be planning to build something new over it.
- Water Is Air: Lampshaded when Clam Man sees water on the floor, with a Wet Floor sign, despite the game taking place underwater.
Tropes in Open Mic:
- Darker and Edgier: Zig-zagged. While this game has No Antagonist and Clam Man is in no real danger this time, the game does focus more on the angst of certain characters and the generally dismal mood of Clam Man's neighborhood. It's also Ruder and Cruder. However, the game ends on a positive note which implies that Clam Man and the comedy club are going to help brighten up the neighborhood.
- Denser and Wackier: Inverted. The first game was almost entirely about wacky humor. While there is still plenty of silly humor in this game, the humor takes a backseat to more grounded storytelling, character angst, and character development.
- Genre Mashup: While the first game was a straight-up point-and-click adventure, this game is an RPG with skills and dice-rolling akin to Dungeons & Dragons, in particular the similarly combat-less Disco Elysium. Like that game, Open Mic still retains many point-and-click characteristics like branching dialogue, puzzles, and most of all, a point-and-click control scheme.
- No Antagonist: While the first game had an evil mastermind and a sinister conspiracy, this game has none of that. Clam Man's only conflict in this game comes from his goal of becoming a stand-up comedian, and from dealing with the quirky citizens of Snacky Bay.
- Ruder and Cruder: This game uses much harsher language than the first. In the first game, there were maybe one or two "freaking"s, and nothing worse than that. This game casually drops a couple F bombs and other strong swear words.
- Sincerest Form of Flattery: The game wears its influences on its sleeve, coming out shortly after 2019's breakout detective RPG Disco Elysium, with which it shares a similar isometric perspective, skill system, and scrolling dialogue window with almost the same serif font. While focusing on only four skills instead of Disco's 24, those skills likewise talk back to the player and provide a sardonic running commentary. ZA/UM approved, giving the demo a shout-out on Twitter.
- Suddenly Voiced: In the first game, all the dialogue was simply written out, except for the opening song. This game gives the characters voice acting. Not all the lines are voiced, though.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The first game had a Cheerful Child turtle named Natalya. While Natalya still appears in Open Mic, she has gotten older and is now a less-innocent (though still well-meaning) teenager. Fortunately, the game introduces a new Cheerful Child character, a stingray named Niharika, in her place.