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Bookworm Adventures Deluxe

Unless you're in a deeply intoxicated state at a school reunion, cute and educational are words unlikely to make it into the same sentence. Bookworm Adventures however breaks this trend. It's the fact that this game is educating me in the English language while I write this very review which is a refreshing excuse to play more. Mix this with charming appeal and satisfying gameplay, and you have a great concept. But how well does the theory really work?

 

Bookworm Adventures is a word puzzle game, and at its core it's very simple. The story involves you, as the adorable worm (not something I say everyday) Lex, going out to save your run of the mill princess. To do this you simply have to try and build a word with letters from a 4x4 grid. The bigger the word and the harder the letters you use (K or Z for example), the more damage you do.

This is, as you might expect, where my educational claims come into effect. By playing around with letters I find myself learning how to spell words correctly, and even learning new words unexpectedly. There has, however, been a good chance missed by not including a dictionary or thesaurus into the game. This way you could easily find out what the words you are using actually mean. I sometimes feel compelled to manually search for the meanings of my new found vocabulary, but others won't. You also travel through Greek mythology and then later the Arabian Nights, which will sharpen up your history and folklore knowledge as a bonus.

The real delight and depth in Bookworm Adventures is in the shape of the varied and tactical gameplay. As you progress through the game you have to deal with a range of special letter tiles, each having a different effect. For example, a "gem" tile may heal you a little if you use it and a "smashed" tile you can use but it won't inflict any damage. You also level up after beating a number of foes, but the fact that you level up as you defeat enemies you have no choice but to fight means this turns out just to be a gimmick rather than a RPG element.

Another nice feature is the "treasures" you gain after defeating a boss at the end of each chapter. As an example, early on you gain the "Bow of Zyx", which will grant you even more damage for using words containing the letters x, y or z. What you end up with is a great pool of special bonuses to choose from before starting a new chapter. Suddenly the whole game seems very tactical, which is quite a pleasant suprise.

It does all this with a really nice sense of humour, and never takes itself too seriously. Frequently I find myself chuckling at a one liner, and I even found myself squirming "Don't leave me!" at times when I really shouldn't. There is also a trickle of mini-games to unlock along the way to keep you entertained and a daunting Arena mode for you to conquer, where you face a continuous battle against the bosses of the game, along side a time limit.

The difficulty level is set too low though, and there is seldom a time when I came close to losing. This is no real bad thing since presumably this is aimed at the younger generation, but it would be nice to make things a little spicier for those who are now getting inebriated at school reunions. As a result I did lose interest in the gameplay sooner than I had hoped. The chic of the game will on the face of things appeal to the above mentioned younglings, but it's the sort of casual game anyone can get into. It's a real pleasure to find the "non-gaming" types peering over my shoulder shouting out words to use, even if they burst my ear drums and give me a heart attack in the process.

The graphics are a tad basic. Ok that's the understatement of the year, but it really doesn't affect the game too much. Yes it would be nice to have shaper lines and pretty sparkly effects, but it has such a cute vibe to it all, which is so much better than looking at a worm's pixel shaded derriere. The sound follows the visual trend - largely uninspired and repetitive, but it is once again salvaged by an endearing Lex. You could argue that these gripes are contained within the cuteness of the game, but I still feel these areas have been neglected and falls short relative to the rest of the game.

So, Bookworm Adventures is, at heart, a cute word puzzle game which will be of benefit to your brain, make you tactically agile and even give you enough supplements of fun. It does all this admirably well, but as an older gamer I just couldn't get into it enough to enjoy the full potential. It may well not be very easy on the eyes and ears, but that's not the point; it makes learning cute, accessible and most of all, fun.

7.00/10 7

Bookworm Adventures Deluxe (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

So, Bookworm Adventures is, at heart, a cute word puzzle game which will be of benefit to your brain, make you tactically agile and even give you enough supplements of fun. It does all this admirably well, but as an older gamer I just couldn't get into it enough to enjoy the full potential. It may well not be very easy on the eyes and ears, but that's not the point; it makes learning cute, accessible and most of all, fun.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
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COMMENTS

icaruschips
icaruschips - 11:36pm, 3rd April 2015

I fail at this game. Only ever get words like "And", or "Bye".

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