Smooth As: Clockwords

Don't work, play this!

This splendid game, Clockwords, came to our attention via Dartt. It’s a free webgame involving furiously typing words to defeat mechanical spiders. You know the sort. The spiders are from your evil enemy who is determined to steal vital plans for your mysterious clockwork machine. This will not do!

It’s distinct from many word-based game in that you’re not restricted to words based on the letters available. In fact, you can type in any word you like at any time. However, you’ll score higher (do more damage) if you use the letters that appear in your chambers. These letters come from a pool in The Boiler, where you can select your ideal collection, and even sort of breed letters together to make more powerful ones.

It’s oddly crippling to be given the option of any word ever. Your imagination is then further challenged when trying to create words with the letters on screen involved. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve lamely typed “RELOCATING” rather than something more inspired. Fortunately the game penalises you for using the same word twice in a level, making it do less damage.

There’s a money-making scheme hidden in there via MochiGames who will sell you coins for their games. With these you can buy more powerful letters. However, I’ve ploughed through to level 12 without needing to do such a thing – there’s unquestionably (another word I kept using) a full game to play without needed to spend money.

It’s all rather a lot of fun, with a very cute opening story, and splendid music throughout. Well worth a play.


  1. Pemptus says:

    Now this is just lovely. Pity it makes you feel like you’re not playing the full game because of the paid content…

  2. dartt says:

    I had to force myself to stop at level 5 or there was a real possibility of losing the rest of the day to it.

  3. Chaz says:

    sownds a bit 2 ejucashoonal 4 me. init

  4. RHippy says:

    It didn’t allow “gurning”, but it did put up with proper English spellings for most stuff and allowed me to use “denitrification”, which was in my head for some reason. Good waste of half an hour…

  5. Mikuto says:

    Oh I love word games, and this one is just charming! Free is even better too…

  6. Fede says:

    Very nice, but a little monotonous after half a dozen levels :)

  7. Robin says:

    I’d like to see Will Self playing this.

    @Pemptus: If the paying option means the free thing can be made bigger/better/bouncier, I’m all for it. Theoretically.

  8. Vague-rant says:

    Enjoyed it then capped out my actual skill ability around level 12/13. Now if only i could level up my word skill in real life…

    Anyway about the whole paying thing… I think you could probably play the whole thing without paying, if you pay the grind toll of playing enough to get enough letters to upgrade etc. but tbh its good but not that good.

  9. westyfield says:

    Aaarghh! Typos! My only weakness!

    Some day I shall defeat you…

  10. Lambchops says:

    An enjoyable diversion but the ability to type any word gives almost too much freedom and stops it remaining interesting after playing 13 levels or so.

  11. Ginger Yellow says:

    I don’t quite understand the Boiler. Why would I want to put anything in storage?

    • Lambchops says:

      i assumed there would be a maximum number of letters as well as a minimum; it’s just unlikely it’ll ever be reached if you don’t start paying for letters.

      i could be wrong though,

    • Sanns says:

      At higher levels, you need to deal significant damage (i.e., score high) in order to kill the spiders. If you have too many Level 1 standard letters, it dilutes your pool and reduces your chances of drawing a high level or a special letter.

  12. Clayton H says:

    I love how there are dozens of ways to determine which keys are being pressed, so that wonderful looking games like this can totally screw it up if you aren’t using an American QWERTY keyboard, making it almost impossible to play the game. I didn’t know it was possible to screw up that badly in a web game though, so I guess I’ve learned something from all of this.

    • Wisq says:

      Agreed. Thankfully, I use a keyboard with a toggle key to switch between Qwerty and Dvorak.

      As you say (I think), Windows keymapping is not always reliable, so I don’t even give it the slightest notion that I’m using a special keyboard. I just toggle the keyboard and remap my keys in-game. And I only even bother with that last step if it’s a game I know I’ll have to type actual English into, e.g. multiplayer with text chat.

  13. Evernight says:

    Thanks alot RPS…. jackasses… I played this game for almost two hours at work today, and got nothing done at my job… This game is crazy addicting and faster than hell. Yeah, my hands are still shaking from all the excitement.

    My biggest word damage point was 244… Individualistic (with a Brass and Jade)

  14. Owen says:

    What a brilliant little free game. Well done John. Clearly the rumours about you being the best John Walker were true.

    Also, this’ll keep me occupied whilst waiting for Bookworm 2 to come down a little in price.

    Yes. I am cheap.

  15. Rei Onryou says:

    What would happen if you tried to type this blog post in?

  16. Sanns says:

    It’s a solid game; it’s just a pity that it falls in the typical pay-for-upgrades model of providing linear upgrades against exponential difficulty. I’m around level 16, and there’s little I can do without upgrading my simple letters to either brass or jade. Unfortunately, that requires 2^5 level 1 bronze letters, and I probably average maybe 2 a round, so yeah…

  17. Railick says:

    I like how it uses the word of the day as a special weapon, certainly makes the game educational at the same time. Sadly I am a horrible speller. I KNOW a bunch of words but I can't spell anything over 6 letters without a spell checker for the most part :P I just use the really easy compound words like without to get beyond 6 letters :P It always devolves to me typing really short words though.

    It seems to me it would be a viable tactic to use combine all your words right out of the gate to get stronger ones since they recycle once you've run out of them, there should be no reason not to upgarde them. The only down side is you'll have a smaller number of letters to use so you'll start to bang your head against the wall trying to find new words to spell with them.

  18. Evernight says:

    WooT! #8 most damaging word of all time! #1 most damaging today. 420 damage!

  19. Railick says:

    What word?