Breadpig, $15.00, ISBN 978-0-9828537-2-6
With the impressive pedigree of Zach Weinersmith behind it – he is the illustrious creator of the comic strip Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, after all, and then there is that last name of his – Trial of the Clone can’t go wrong, right? Well, let’s think of a nice way to put it: it’s not really funny, and since humor is the selling point of this gamebook, it doesn’t quite fly at the end of the day.
You are basically an unwanted clone who stumbles his way into greatness after a series of misadventures and political intrigue. This campaign – if it can be called that – has some basic stats to be used during fights, and rolls are done by randomly flicking pages, picking one, and using that number printed at the lower right corner. There’s nothing too fancy or hard to remember here, so don’t worry about that.
There are multiple detours available, depending on your choices, so there is some replay value here. However, the humor lacks coherence – it’s all over the place. It pokes fun at those people who like to start wars for political reasons that have nothing to do with the actual reason for a war to take place, makes references to contemporary pop culture and even locations despite being set in a faraway place in a distant galaxy a long time into the future, and generally lacks any semblance of actual world building.
Everything is a parody and a satire here, but it’s hard to tell what or who Mr Weinersmith is aiming his wit at. The title would suggest that this is a parody of Star Wars, what with references to lightsabers and Goodside and Badside and all, but no, it’s not that. A homage to sci-fi tropes? Not really. The humor here resembles lots of… things… that are randomly flung at a wall in the hope that something sticks. A consistent thing present here is frathouse jokes, though. Your character has the worst eyebrows, body odor, and everything else ever and there are plenty of body function jokes to behold. Well, that’s fine, but at the end of the day, the humor is still all over the place.
Trial of the Clone ends up coming off as a work of self-indulgence. With a $15.00 price tag, however, its brand of banality doesn’t come cheap. Maybe this is what they call premium-standard mediocrity?