Get Ready for Another Round of Word Mayhem in Bookworm Adventures 2
Word games are hardly on top of anyone's most exciting game to play lists, and yet for some reason, they have a huge potential to be highly addictive. Of course, this would have to mean that you have a bit of penchant of literacy and have a pretty massive vocabulary -or you simply like proving to yourself how smart you can be. Anyway, Bookworm Adventures 2 promises even more challenges and a better gameplay than the original. At the same time, it also boasts of a fully playable story mode, plenty of NPC challengers to beat, and a semi-random puzzle base that will have you dishing as many multi-lettered words as you can. And thus the question: does it deliver?
Most Certainly So
Right off the bat we can tell you all that Bookworm Adventures 2 is one of Popcap's most satisfying game you can play. It is challenging, educational, and most importantly, fun. While it makes perfect sense to make a challenging, adding in the "educational" bit is often a massive death curse for any video game. This is because most learning-related game titles tend to focus so much on the lecture than any form of interactivity (which in turn, distracts the player from having fun).
Bookwork Adventures 2 approaches the learning part of the game with a pretty good perspective -practice to learn. There is not a single line in the game that tells players to read more or to learn new words. Instead, you are simply given decent challenges and it is up to you to figure out what kind of words you can spell out from the 16 letter selection available on the board.
Once Upon a Time
The story starts with Popcap's famous eyeglass wearing green bookworm, Lex going into various fairy tale locales to rescue Mother Goose. Along the way, he meets (and word fights) many other fantasy and fable based characters ranging from the wolf in grandmother clothes to the three little pigs to the entire ensemble of the tea party from Through the Looking Glass. Of course, you will not be travellig alone. You will eventually have little ol' Mother Goose tagging alongside (after you rescue her) and other fairy tale denizens such as the Cheshire Cat will also be part of your motley crew.
Words are Fun
The main point of the game is to beat your opponent by depleting their life bar. In order to cause damage, you must spell out words from a selection of letters. The game will present you with 16 letters arranged in a 4 by 4 grid and you can any letter in order once to form a word. Once you use a word, it will turn into an attack (the strength of which relies on who long the word is, buffs activated, and if any special letter tile has been used). After a letter has been consumed, it will be replaced by a new letter tile.
Right off the bat, it is easy to figure out how this game manages to push a player's vocabulary levels -while it is easy and safe to toy around with common words, you are actually encouraged to spell out more complicated words that will use up less common letters.
Getting that Victory
For those who are new to the letters game, here are a few simple tips that our writers have found useful (also, some of these tips can be applied to other word games too).
Keep letters that are easy to use. For vowels, E's and A's are most common and having a surplus of I's, O's, and U's help expand words (since they are often used for prefixes and suffixes).
The consonants R, S, T, L, and N are very useful utility letters since they factor in many of the most common words that are used. On the other hand Z, Qu, X, and J, are very selective in usage so try to dispose of them the moment they become part of your selection in order to available of more useful letters.
Prefixes, suffixes, tenses and plural forms tend to help increase the letter count of any word. So try to see if you can add an extra -S, -Y, -ful, -tion, -ology, or others at the end (or try adding in-, un-, ex-, and other prefixes at the start).
Sometimes, you can actually combine two small words to form a much longer compound word. Since the game does not have a time limit for turns, you may experiment around with combinations and see if the game will accept your answer.
Try to save long words for when you really need it. If an opponent is down to their last two hearts, there is no point in unleashing a massively powerful attack. This overkill does not grant any bonuses and since you carry over the tiles to your next battle, you can actually store the longer word for an enemy with a long life bar. The same applies to special tiles as well -if there is no immediate need to consume one and a similar letter on a normal tile is available, then it might be more viable to go for a normal attack.
Lastly, make full use of your NPC party members. Regardless of who you choose as your companion, you will get a benefit. And it often helps for players to use these bonuses as soon as they become available (of course, a little bit of planning is still encouraged when handling renewable in-game resources).
Not Just for Kids
Obviously, Bookworm Adventures 2 is targeted for children -just looking at the character design and the actually gameplay interface is enough to tell anyone that the developers had a very set target market in mind. However, this does not mean that older players will not enjoy this game. Despite the fact that the develops have a set idea of how they would want this game to be distributed, it is undeniable that there is a bit of a global appeal when it comes to clever word games. Just looking at the casual success of social word games on smart phones based on old school games like Scrabble and Boggle show that there is a definite market for these kinds titles -and the fact that Lex's second adventures are great for both kids and adults makes the game even more worth getting.
While most games with an educational label on it would quickly be tossed to a bottom shelf and forgotten (for the better of everyone in the world), Bookworm Adventures 2 actually deserves more than just a single install and playthrough. It is actually playing over and over again. Just completing the story mode alone will be a bit of a help for anyone's vocabulary, but actually trying out the quick matches will help polish your skills and still have you entertained at the same time. You can be a child or a full grown adult and the game still has enough juice and challenge to give everyone a grand time string random letters into words. We give this game a blind little mice's 95/100.