Clockwords is a tricky little game that you have to be quite intelligent to complete.
That’s me buggered from the start then.
The story is set in a bookshop, seemingly in Victorian times, where an inventor creates a machine that only works when he talks to it. He also seems unsure of what the machine was built to do – it appears he found some mysterious diagrams somewhere and decided to build whatever was on it. Good job it didn’t turn out to be a Terminator.
He discovers that the machine is able to decode all of the other diagrams he hasn’t worked on yet, something he is clearly quite happy about.
Perhaps a little too happy...
In the next scene the machine tells our inventor friend all the components it needs for completion. This includes items such as gunpowder, so the inventor becomes worried that it might be a weapon. Perhaps it really is a prototype Terminator.
But he ignores his fears and gets to work, eventually tiring himself out and falling asleep.
During the night, his home comes under attack from evil mechanical spiders!
The spiders are trying to steal his documents but the machine retaliates by promptly pulling out a word-powered gun and blasting away.
Okay, so the plot isn’t going to win any awards but that’s not what you’re here for, right?
Let the blasting commence!
This is basically a defence game with a twist: instead of shooting your enemies with a gun or setting up towers to take down your foes, you attack by typing in words. Each letter is fired at the evil robo-spiders and does damage. You are basically rewarded for your verbosity, as if you repeat any words within a 20-word chain the letters will do less damage.
After you complete a level, you can receive special letters. If you add these into your inventory in the “boiler room”, you can use these in combat. Each one does more damage than normal letters and becomes more powerful depending on how easy they are to use in words.
So, “A” does five damage and “Z” does twenty five.
Each letter has a grading depending on their damage, and you can combine letters of the same grade to make a more powerful letter.
You can also create letters with special abilities: they can explode on impact or add damage to every letter you use in a word.
It is up to you how you use these abilities to get through the levels: unless you are a master Scrabble player, it’s probably best to make a core set of letters that you can make dozens of words from. If you have one of every letter, it can soon get tricky as the best way to progress is to use as many special letters per word as possible.
Looks complex? Well... it is, kinda.
The game only lets you use a certain number of special letters at a time, but you can increase this amount by using all your letters in one word. It’ll make sense when you play it.
The other thing you need to note is this game is VERY HARD. To me it is anyway: told you I wasn’t that intelligent.
Sure, it starts out easy, but the waves get strong very quickly and you’ll need quick typing skills as well as verbal dexterity. I reached level 12 of 40 then stopped, ashamed by my lack of skill.
That’s not to say it isn’t a good game though, because it is: it’s smart, innovative and puts no limit on your creativity. There are a few words it doesn’t recognise though, which can destroy your chances sometimes. Luckily these are far and few between.
It’s just going to take someone smarter than me to beat it.
Oh and if you can’t spell, I’d forget about it.
Do I have to spell it out to you? Play it now: Clockwords: Prelude
Written by: Richard Wilson
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