Thursday, February 08, 2007

VG review: Bookworm Adventures

PopCap Games, for the PC, $29.95.

I’m not sure that word puzzle fans were wishing they could defeat fantastic monsters in between rounds of Boggle. Nor am I sure that Final Fantasy advocates were sitting around crying, “If only I could have used Scrabble tiles to defeat the monster instead of a plus-10 sword.”

Yet that is exactly what you get with “Bookworm Adventures,” an ingenious, delightful little game that manages to weave two seemingly disparate genres together seamlessly.

The game is an ambitious sequel to PopCap’s 2002 “Bookworm.” In that one, you simply built words out of a variety of tiles that then got fed to Lex, a cute, bespectacled worm.

In the sequel, Lex must travel through some classic story books to rescue his beloved Cassandra. Naturally, there are a number of monsters and assorted foes that want to block his path.

To defeat your opponents, you merely have to spell words using the letter tiles provided (unlike in the first game, the tiles don’t have to be touching one another). The longer the word, the more damage you will do. Using rarely used letters such as Q and X will net you extra damage, too.

Along the way, you’ll pick up items that will help you in your quest, as well as raise your health and strength.

This is good, because your adversaries will be throwing as many hazards as they can at you, including but not limited to poison, fire, chains that lock your tiles up and more. Thankfully, you can fight fire with fire thanks to the gem letters that pop up when you use long words.

Best of all, certain enemies have weaknesses, and spelling “metal” words, such as “gold” or “silver,” will do more damage. This adds a real layer of strategy to the game that makes it all the more addictive.

The game has a strong sense of humor; Lex’s witty repartee is constant but never grating.

The only real flaw in “Bookworm Adventures” might be that it’s too short. You might not have been asking for a game like this, but once you play it, you’ll be happy it’s here just the same.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007



At 2:05 PM, Blogger Jason said...

A complaint I had about the game is the fact that, once you beat it, you have to make a new profile to play it again. I don't know why that bothers me - I guess because I like the high-score list to say Jason over and over and over again to rub it into my girlfriend. It's not the same when it says "Jason" "J-Rod" "JayPimp" etc.

But, agreed, fun game.

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Chris Mautner said...

Part of that problem may be cause the game is so short, something I didn't mention in my review. I do think, however, that they will be adding downloadable updates in the near future, so we may be seeing more levels soon.


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