Saturday, February 20, 2016

Word Puzzles by POWGI (Wii U eShop, 3DS eShop) Review

We continue this month with a new word game collection by the letter-loving folks at Lightwood Games. This time, we look at Word Puzzles by POWGI with this in-depth review.

Puzzle Power

I really enjoy flexing my mental muscles with some word games occasionally. My iPhone is home to games like Just Jumble, where you unscramble letters to create words, an anagram game where you try to form as many words out of a set of letters as possible, and the basic word search, which needs no introduction. Sure. these games don't always give me the same sense of accomplishment as an epic adventure, but they do help kill time now and then.

Word Puzzles by POWGI seems more well suited for mobile devices that you can turn on and off in an instant, and easily come back to between surfing the net and texting your friends instead of a device that is more towards more in-depth, dedicated gaming experiences. Still, this complementary title to Word Search by POWGI offers a vast array of word puzzles to sharpen your mind and pass the time, and it does a good job at both of those objectives.

There are six word puzzle types that the folks at Lightwood Games have created, and there are four that contain 60 puzzles while the latter two hold 120 different puzzles to solve. Regardless of the puzzle type, you can press the L and R shoulder buttons in tandem to reveal hints for the current puzzle you're on. For instance, asking for a hint in the first type of puzzle, the Word Maze, will reveal the list of words you need to seek out in the puzzle. Additionally, each puzzle has its own theme and topic, such as animal noises, types of cakes, and movie genres.

Speaking of Word Maze, this is the first puzzle type to choose from in Word Puzzles by POWGI. With Word Maze, the goal is to draw a continuous line starting from the last letter of the first word solved, and spell words that have to do with the topic of the puzzle so that each letter is used only once.

Meanwhile, Mixups has you with a scrambled and strewn amount of letters that need to be reordered into three different words that have to do with the theme of the puzzle. Sometimes it's as simple as shapes, states of the United States, or musical instruments, but things grow tougher with girls names, Greek letters, and opera composers.

One Word is a traditional seek and find / word search-type puzzle, but instead of a great variety words to find, you're instead going from puzzle to puzzle to find the titular "one word" within the puzzle. This gets mighty tricky when you're trying to find the word "ROAD" and the only letters in the puzzle are a multitude of R's, O's, A's, and D's. Each completed puzzle in One Word assists in spelling out a famous quote from a celebrity, author, political person, historic figure, etc. Personally, One Word drove me crazy when the larger puzzles came into play, making for some quite difficult adventures in seeking and finding!

Moving on, Flowers has you focused on a literal flower where two letters are in the center. You place a pair of two letters on each petal to spell out words. For instance, if the center of the flower has the letters "N" and "C", you then put the letter pair "OU" and "ES" on opposite petals to spell the word "OUNCES". You continue doing this for all of the petals to spell out multiple words. This is one of the two word puzzle types that sports 120 puzzles total.

Circles has three eponymous shapes crossing over one another. Each has a multitude of letters to unscramble, but each set of letters to unscramble is incomplete. A missing letter that needs to be figured out by your undoubtedly bright mind rests in the area where the three circles intersect. Further assisting in helping you figure out what letter goes in that position is the notion that each of three circles' words all relate to one another. For example, one puzzle has the letters F-A-M in one circle, A-S-H-O-M-P in another, and S-A-P in the last circle. Having the letter "O" be the one where the circles cross over makes sense, so each word can be unscrambled to "FOAM", "SHAMPOO", and "SOAP", items relating to showering or bathing. Circles is the other puzzle type with 120 puzzles total.

Finally, my favorite of the six puzzle types in Word Puzzles by POWGI is Crossovers. This game gives you a choice of four letters to place in a crossword-style puzzle to spell out two different words. If you have a blank space where the letters W_LL and B_ING intersect, and a choice between the letters "E", "A", "R", and "I", the answer would be the letter "E" to spell the words "WELL" and "BEING". You solve a series of these types of puzzles, where the blank letter is used to solve a riddle at the conclusion of all the smaller crossword puzzles by unscrambling the letters to form the answer to the riddle.

Word Puzzles by POWGI's UI is clean and attractive, sporting a simple look that neither impresses or detracts from the experience. Upon loading up the game, you are taken to a basic title screen with the puzzle types listed in a zigzag pattern with each puzzle name a different color in the 3DS version while offering off-TV play and a higher resolution with the Wii U version. Entering deeper into the menus reveals a whole set of puzzles that can be viewed, laid out in fours in the puzzle types with 60 puzzles each or in multiple rows and columns of paw prints for the puzzle types with 120 puzzles each. Meanwhile, the music is a bit grating for extended playing, so I opted to play the game with the volume turned down. Otherwise, it was too distracting for me, and frustratingly so.

The price of Word Puzzles by POWGI is a bit on the high side, costing approximately ten dollars. Compared to games of the same type on iOS or Android, this price seems a bit steep, However, if you're looking for a collection of 480 puzzles that will last you a good while, the price doesn't seem so bad. However, there are many other games on the eShop that aren't nearly as repetitive as Word Puzzles by POWGI to be found. Whether you should check out this capable pallet of word puzzles depends on your enjoyment of word games. For me, I can see myself playing Lightwood Games' and POWGI's latest for a good while. It's a perfect game for killing time while you wait for the bus, or while you sit in the doctor's office. Whether that's worth the entry price is up to you.

[SPC Says: C+]

Review copy provided by Lightwood Games.

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