Another Nice Spell: Clockwords Act 1

By John Walker on April 8th, 2010 at 1:06 am.

Yes, I picked a word that I think makes me look smart.

Back in September last year we told you about the really rather excellent Clockwords. It’s now back with a new act, an improved version, and just as much fun to play.

The original version of the game is now being called the Prelude, with this new game titled Act 1. Confusingly, both have the same intro scenes. The format is much the same: you are a Victorian scientist who discovers plans for a mysterious machine that can decode secrets. But oh no! Evil mechanical bugs want to steal your secrets, and the machine only works when you’re ‘talking’ to it. (Rather brilliantly, the game is entirely aware that its own central premise is nonsense. There’s a lovely message that appears if you try to spend all your ‘secrets’, which is worth finding.)

This translates to your needing to furiously type in words, preventing the bugs from reaching your secrets and making off with them. As you type a chamber at the bottom of the screen offers letters you can choose to include in your words. Doing so improves the power of the attack, with special letters offering more powerful results. Each time you use all the letters present you unlock another chamber, until all eight are open and you’re challenged to think of a word that includes as many of them as possible.

As I said before, the freedom of being able to type in literally any word at all can be paralysing. The more letters in the chambers, the easier I find it, it seems. My brain is much more capable of thinking of a 12 letter word containing seven present letters, than it is trying to think of any word at all with simply “N” as a prompt. N… N… Um… “Nut”?

The between-level areas are much improved. The boiler-room now is better laid out, removing the extremely confusing system of dragging letters back and forth. Now you can get new bonus letters (perhaps an S that sets things on fire when used, or an M that freezes bugs) which are purchased by spending your Secrets, gained each level. There’s a limited number of letters you can have in the boiler at any time, and it’s only these letters that show up in the game, but that number is huge and you can have an enormous range.

Also improved is the payment system. Gone are the silly micropayments for particular letters, replaced with a much more sensible shareware-style game. You can play the first half for free online, or download the game and play it fullscreen, offline, all for free. There’s also some new minigames for good measure. Then if you want the second half, and new special letter types, you can pay for it. Although just now I cannot see how much – we’ve got in touch with Gabob to find out. Edit: We’ve been told it’s $12.99 USD or 10.99 Euro.

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11 Comments »

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  1. The_B says:

    I have been most confabulated by the astonishing number of superfluous additions to my vocabulary becoming most inconceivable at the precise moment I require their assistance.

    BRAIN BROKE TOO MANY BIG WERDS

  2. Fumarole says:

    Silly isn’t the first word that comes to mind when describing micropayments for letters in what amounts to a game about spelling.

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    Hodge says:

    …and once again I am refused an offer of cunnilingus.

    *drum fill*

  4. Wulf says:

    Looking at that screenshot, my mind immediately wanted to transmogrify that incomplete word into existential, I’m not at all sure whether I should be worried about that or not.

    Oh well, this looks like fun!

  5. Benjamin Finkel says:

    The Premium adverts everywhere are incredibly annoying. I didn’t find anything in this version that made it better than the Prelude, and plenty that was worse.

    Ben

  6. Kevin says:

    OK, I’ll bite. How are you supposed to actually order this thing? I see nothing on their website.

    • John Walker says:

      I am told that the offer to pay only appears after you’ve completed the first two rounds. Which seems a strange choice.

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    Lambchops says:

    I remember playing this first time round – it was fun for a while but was obviously going to turn into a horrible grind of a game unless you were willing to enter into the micropayments thing. Which I wasn’t.

  8. Richeh says:

    Mmmm, the first one got pretty dull after a while. With basically no plot progression it just lacked the nonsense and variety of Bookworm Adventures although it did have the advantage of being free and playable in the office. Which in effect meant I wasted a lot of time not having much fun.

    Hope this one’s an improvement.

  9. Ziv says:

    if it was cheaper i would have considered because it’s a neat little game :)

  10. merc says:

    This is so much fun. Excellent game!