I'm sure that you've all done it. Don't try and convince me that you're some kind of gaming gourmand and eschew the simpler, more basic games out there. You (just like everyone else who has ever owned a computer) have played Solitaire and Minesweeper, admit it. In a similar vein I bet you've played at least some of the simple web based games you can find at Yahoo or any of hundreds of similar websites. Personally, I have a weakness for word games such as Text Twist and Bookworm. So, when I learned that they had created another Bookworm game with an RPG flavor, I devoured the free trial and then purchased the game.
The game's premise is an interesting one. You are Lex, the worm from the original Bookworm, and once again you are creating the longest words you can from the tiles provided. The longer the word, the more damage you do to the various villains that stand between you and Cassandra, the prophet. At least I think it's Cassandra you have to rescue, I just started calling her The Princess after the first few levels. This game suffers heavily from “I'm sorry, but the princess is in another castle” syndrome. The developers didn't bother themselves with trying to come up with a deeper story or additional missions. I imagine it was much simpler just to create different excuses for why the princess wasn't at the end of each level.
While you don't get the damsel at the end of each level, you do receive an item to help you in your quest. The items vary from a bow and arrow that allows you to do more damage with the letters x, y, and z to a hammer that enhances the damage of words involving metal. I preferred to use other stat boosting items because I would have given myself a headache trying to come up with metallic words or adverbs (most of them end in -ly for the grammatically challenged) in a constant effort to deal great amounts of damage. Instead, I focused on simply creating the longest words possible. My personal best is plantation, using ten of the sixteen tiles. What was left after was a whole bunch of i's and a's. Thankfully, the algorithm they use to replace the tiles was good enough that I was never stuck with a selection I couldn't use. There is an option to shuffle the board just in case, but I have never needed to use it.
You don't need to go out to buy this game, you simply charge thirty dollars to a credit card and download the game to your computer. I suppose that alone should have tipped me off that this game wouldn't be very long, but I was still disappointed to discover the game only contains three levels. However, after you beat each level a new feature is unlocked in the game. The first feature is a ranking screen. It shows you your best words and top scores. Not all that fabulous, but it's good for satisfying my curiosity about what words do more damage (it's actually not always about word length). The second feature is one that lets you play mini games outside of normal gameplay. I warn you that it can be difficult to stop once you start playing these minigames. There is one in particular, where you have to guess a five letter word in five turns, that kept me enthralled. After you successfully beat the game, the arena finally unlocks. I was looking forward to this ever since I started the demo. I figured I'd be able to battle whenever I wanted without all the trappings of normal gameplay. This is not the case. The arena is a mode of gameplay where you go against all twenty one bosses and sub-bosses from the game, one after another. This wouldn't be so bad, but there's a catch. Now you're also up against a timer. I don't play nearly as well with the time pressure and I didn't enjoy the game at all under those conditions. This may not be the case for everyone, but I was disappointed.
This is obviously not a game for everyone, because I have trouble believing that people like testing their word power as much as I do. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. For me this game is certainly worth the price, despite a few letdowns. I highly recommend checking out the demo for yourself. After all, you are the best judge for what games you'll enjoy. And I'll warn you now – the demo is good for an hour. Not an hour of gameplay mind you, just for one hour after you download it. I only got half an hour out of my demo, because I went to have dinner after starting the game up. It was really good pizza though, so no regrets here. So go and give Bookworm Adventures a try and see if it's right for you.
This columnist would love to hear your thoughts on her work. All glowing praise should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and all hate mail should be directed to whoever pushed KOTOR 2 out the door before it was ready, exactly where it belongs.