Help! The laboratory is under attack, and mechanical spiders have arrived to carry off the blueprints! What do you mean I'm not making sense? You're not making sense! How do you expect to use your vocabulary to power this canon to fend them all off if you keep spouting gibberish like, "There's no such thing as clockwork spiders", and "What are you doing in my house?" Your weapon of choice is language in this odd little typing-defense hybrid from Gabob called Clockwords. So stop gaping and start yapping, since this is one time when having nothing to say is dangerous instead of just painfully awkward.
That's right. Having recently acquired a machine that runs on language, you'll have to rely on your brain as you think up words to use as ammunition. Type a word, any word, and hit [enter], and the cannon on screen will fire the letters in it one by one at the approaching arachnids, dealing damage according to the letters you used. You can aim the cannon manually with the mouse, or let it fire at the closest enemy. Don't hesitate, since you can type in word after word, before the last one has been used up, to build up a warm, wordy welcome for the thieves. In tanks on the screen you'll find special letters that, if included in your word, will deal a damage bonus. Use them all, and you'll unlock additional letters that can further strengthen your arsenal. But watch out, since if the spiders make it to the bottom of the screen and steal all your secrets, your future as the brightest inventor in London will be cut short.
Between levels (of which there are many) you can pay a visit to the boiler room, where you can add any new letters you discover to your bonus tanks, or transmute the ones you have using your formulas to uncover new, deadly combinations. While the game offers you special letters than can be purchased with Mochi Coins, they are by no means necessary to finish the game. Nor should you feel handicapped without them, since you can actually create them on your own by transmuting two high-level letters together. Finally, a use for all the mysterious, glowing green liquid I have lying around the house!
Analysis: The problem here is that the difficulty level can't really stand alongside the strong design, and some players may not find it much of a challenge. You probably won't have much trouble staying ahead of the swarms if you keep your words fairly long and frequent. Since the letters in the tanks only grant additional bonuses and aren't actually a requirement, you can reduce your attackers to quivering bits of springs and sprockets just by rapping out whatever pops into your head. (Of course, feeling smug if you manage to use all eight random letters in a word is perfectly acceptable.) Reusing words in a level will reduce the damage they deal, but with so few restrictions this is rarely a problem.
Since you're essentially free as a bird here, you'll be happy to know that Clockwords actually possesses a very capable vocabulary. Every word I dropped in from the mundane ("pants") to the lengthy ("lugubrious") was accepted, which leaves you free to abandon yourself to stream-of-consciousness style casual gameplay rather than plotting out your every move. In fact, if you're a fine, sterling example of northern breeding like yours truly (that is to say, Canadian or from across the pond) you'll also be happy to know that Clockwords doesn't discriminate against that extra "u" and accepts "neighbours" as readily as "neighbors".
While the relatively sedate pace and difficulty could wind up leaving you feel as though you're competing against yourself for a high score rather than the clock, there's something addictive about Clockwords that will appeal not only to those of us who got beaten up after school for reminding the teacher about a homework assignment, but anyone who simply appreciates a good design. So what are you waiting for? Free your mind! Your fellow word nerd salutes you.