Bookworm Adventures revolves around a worm that battles his enemies using only power of his words. Strangely this isn’t done through conversations, but instead the words transform into direct attacks, with their power depending on how complex the words are. Mixed into all of this is a rather watered down RPG level progression. The entire concept of the game is novel, but not without its faults – namely in graphics and length.
Bookworm Adventures does a great job of making the player feel both like an idiot and a genius, normally within mere moments of each other. A good example is the mini-games in that require the player to race the computer to come up with more words that it produces. The problem with this is that there really is no form of control over what letters appear, ever. This translates into the core game as well since attack strength is primarily based on the length of the word this means that sections of the game can be drastically more difficult when the board of letters has four Qu’s to use and three Z’s.
It is refreshing, though, that a game is so honestly centered on the use of words. The game rewards the player at the end of levels with a special item or follower that they can use to adjust the flow of the game. The way these power-ups are designed is rather interesting, as they seem to adjust the difficulty of the game itself. For more advanced players that are rather good at looking at a jumble of letters, there are items that power up certain types of words, and for those of us that aren’t that great at the game, there is a follower that supplies healing potions every couple of turns.
Unfortunately, the game looks like a more polished flash game. While this is a clear stab at the very roots of the game (the first appearance of Bookworm was on a flash game on Pop Cap’s site), more could have been done in the way of making the game look better at all. Or that time could have been invested in a greater range of animations for any of the characters involved in the game. The company is known for their wacky and stylized characters, and they are found in abundance in this game, but sadly it seems like so many of their other recent games looked so much better.
The game is priced at 20 dollars, which seems kind of steep. Although the game does have a sizeable amount of content that should keep those interested coming back, it still doesn’t seem like it reaches that 20 dollar mark. There is a free demo of the game available for download, so the cost shouldn’t hinder those interested from at least trying the game out. It isn’t that Bookworm isn’t a solid game, just that it feels more like an entirely too well fleshed out flash game than something that one would actively search out.
Bookworm is exactly what it says that it is, a game where a worm goes around beating up creatures using only the power of his words. If that sounds like a good time, and have fun with the daily word jumble, Bookworm Adventures is probably the right game for you. It is too bad that the game seems to fall back so heavily on this one trick, as so many of the other Pop Cap games always seem able to stay fresh until the very end.