Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Clockwords: Prelude

Words games are very popular right now. Almost everyone I know plays or has played Words with Friends. Clockwords: Prelude has a similar word making theme with very active, even frantic gameplay.

Well done art in the comic book like intro.

The story starts up with you taking the role of an inventor in Victorian London. Your rival, a fiendish man with a top hat and a mustache, sends mechanized insects to attack your safe and steal your secrets. The art and music of the game are very well done, and make the game that much better.

After watching the intro, the game teaches you how to play. The game is simple to learn, but the later levels become quite complex. The insects that are approaching you can be destroyed by your new invention that converts words into ammunition. Each letter of the word will do one point of damage to the insects. The dark colored letters such as the D in doctored below are iron letters. Each iron letter will do 5 damage per dot underneath the letter. So the D is worth ten damage in this picture. Finally, each word can only be used once. If you attempt to use the same word twice, each letter will count for zero damage, but will still take the time to shoot. The delay of the wasted letters could cost you the game in a panic situation. Adding an "S" is different enough to avoid the penalty, but if you get too many letter "x"s or "z"s, it can be hard to keep placing them.

At the start of the level only one tank (or one special letter) is available, but once you use it you will have two tanks and the ability to use two special letters in a word. If you use all the special letters in the same word, you will unlock the next tank, allowing you to make larger and larger words. Although the bugs start off with low amounts of life, they take more and more effort to kill on each level.

Additionally, if they reach the safe and are killed on the way back, the secrets will drop where they do, allowing the next passing insect to pick it up instead of going all the way down to the safe. The machine will try to fire on the closest insect to the safe, or the insect carrying your secrets, but it will often hit a bug between it and its target, so the best bet is to try and stop the insects before they reach the safe.

After completing a level, whether you pass or fail, you might find some extra letters you can use. Letters are placed into storage until you enter The Boiler, shown below. The boiler screen allows you to manage the special letters that will appear during the game. Letters are given dots based on how hard they are to get into words. The letter A only has one dot (5 damage) while the letter Y has four dots(20 damage). You can place two of the same letter in the green tank where the G is to create a random letter of the next level. (So two Gs might make a M). The trick is to make sure you have a good variety of letters in the boiler to be able to always have something to play.

Once you manage to get two iron letters to level five, you can transmute them to make a level 1 special letter. There are two types of special letters, Jade and Brass. Jade letters make all of your letters do more damage, and Brass letters cause all of your Iron letters to explode, doing damage over a small range. In order to level up the special letters, you'll need to wait until you have two of the same letter and same material. A jade/bronze and an iron will give you a different lettered jade/bronze of the same level as the special.

As you progress you'll be scrambling to think of new words and encountering stronger and more numerous bugs. Although you'll have some trouble as you progress, by continuing to work at your collection in the boiler, you should eventually be able to get past the level giving you trouble. With forty levels, there is a lot of value for your money. Speaking of money, another strong point in Clockwords: Prelude's favor is that it is available to play for free here!

With all that in mind, you should check it out, especially if you like words games.