PopCap's word-loving worm embarks on an epic quest to save an oracle named Cassandra in Bookworm Adventures. As in earlier games, players are challenged to build words by selecting letter tiles positioned on a grid. Unlike previous titles, letters do not have to be connected to one another. Bookworm Adventures features yet another twist: the design is closer to a role-playing game than a traditional action puzzle title. Each word formed on the 4x4 grid is used as an "attack" against more than 150 mythological monsters.
One-on-one battles take place from a side-view perspective within the screen's top half as each side trades health-depleting blows. The larger the word, the more damage is dealt. Players will also gain experience over time, allowing Lex the Bookworm to receive more health or other attribute-enhancing powers. Players can even acquire helpful items and potions to use in battle. In addition to the main Adventure mode, Bookworm Adventures includes a monster-battling Arena mode and three word-oriented mini-games.
Bookworm Adventures is brilliant! It's a casual downloadable word-game for PCs and is made by Pop Cap Games, the creators of Bejeweled 2, Chuzzle Deluxe, Zuma and plenty of other famous games.
The game is a weird combo of word game and turn-based RPG (Final Fantasy style)! The plot is that you are a bookworm that gets sent into a book about the past to rescue someone called Cassandra; the first book is set in ancient Greece, and there are 3 books in total. Each book has around 10 levels and each level has a number of stages (enemies). You start on the left-hand side of a long horizontal level and you have to make your way to the right of the level by fighting various opponents with words. When you reach the end of the level you fight a boss and then it's onto the next level.
The top half of the screen shows your character (the green bookworm) on the left and your opponent (could be a wolf, lion, warrior, thief, mythical beast etc.) on the right. You start with three hearts of health (more can be gained later), and your opponent has a similar amount on the early levels, but later on they have *lots* more health. Underneath that is a 4x4 grid of letters (16 in total for the Windows Calc impaired). All you have to do is click on the letters to spell out a word of three letters of more and you will perform an attack on the enemy. Naturally the longer the word, and the more obscure the letters you use (like x,y,z) the more damage you will do to the enemy (a bit like Scrabble). Then the enemy attacks you, and you take it in turns like that. Simple as this may sound, it's very addictive, plus the graphics and sounds are brilliant and funny.
Of course there are extra game elements that make it more interesting such as health and power up potions plus special gem-like letters that boost your word power and have an effect on the enemy (like power down, poison or freeze) or that heal you. Also, as you progress your health, defense and attack capabilities get upgraded; but unlike most RPGs you can't choose what you assign your 'level-up' points to. Some enemies have various nasty attacks like poison, burning, bleeding, stun, petrify etc. Other enemies even crack or 'infect' the letter tiles so that they don't add to your word power when you use them. Oh and there are even locked tiles (match-3 style). Finally, at the end of each level you obtain a special item like the golden fleece (adds an extra heart) or Poseidon's shield (reduces damage), and you can choose three of these special items to take into each level. All of this extra stuff makes the game quite tactical as well, it's not just about spelling words. For example, there is no point using up a special poisoned gem letter on an enemy that you are about to kill, and there also is no point using up a health gem letter if you have full health.
The game is extremely polished throughout; it even has animated credits like a mini cartoon! There are animated comic strips, funny dialog between the characters, 150 uniquely animated enemies, three cool mini-games, and various other unlockable extras. A couple of cool things that I liked were the funny loading text that says stuff like 'pretending to work' and 'dividing by zero' etc. Also if you defeat an enemy who has low health with a massive word, the view zooms in and it says 'Crushed' or 'Whomped' in slow motion and you get a bonus item - this is cool. Other pure polish items include a sliding map progress indicator, an enemy skills/weaknesses panel (e.g. color or metal words cause more damage), and a panel that shows the best words you've come up with :-) I'm particularly proud of some weird words like Doggish and Burgeoned, oh and also Orgasm. It won't accept swearwords though, not even British ones like @!*. Also it doesn't seem to accept a few valid but obscure ones e.g. Amish, Romany, which is a bit disappointing, especially as my partner is a science writer and is full of weird words.
I played this game with my whole family and we really enjoyed it but it is quite hard - you've got to get some longer words to beat the harder enemies instead of lots of four and five letter ones.
People who downloaded Bookworm Adventures have also downloaded:
Bookworm Adventures Volume 2, Bookworm Deluxe, Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time, Carmen Sandiego: Word Detective, JumpStart Adventures: 3rd Grade - Mystery Mountain, Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System, Magic School Bus Explores Inside the Earth, Disney's Mickey Saves the Day: 3D Adventure
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