In an alternate version of the Victorian era, a female engineer called Miranda Calomy receives a letter from her grandfather. He asks for her help on collecting the parts necessary for a new and revolutionary invention. She must leave England and travel around the globe looking for the pieces, with the help of her small robot Sprocket.
The Clockwork Man is a hidden object game with point-and-click adventure portions. Most of the time, the objective is to find and click on all the items from a list at the bottom of the screen, on locations filled with assorted objects placed on the scenery. Some scenes activate a compass at the center of the bottom interface, where clicking on its arrows moves the point-of-view, panning or zooming in and out of the screen.
Some locations are pure adventure sections, where the lower portion of the screen is replaced by the inventory. The player has to drag and drop the inventory objects to parts of the scenery in a logical way, to solve the puzzle and continue the game.
Some objects bring a separate screen with a puzzle that can be manipulated directly, by clicking and moving its parts on the screen. They vary from the ordinary, like jigsaw puzzles, to more original ones.
The help button is Sprocket, the heroine's pet robot. It has four devices, each available gradually as the game progresses. Using any of them costs energy units, that recharge slowly with time. The first one costs one unit, and shows a photo of any list item. The second costs two units, and shows the approximate area of a list object. The third costs three units, and highlights the exact position of a required item. The fourth costs five units, and is a magnet that makes all the metallic objects shake.