I know some of my posts may have showed differently, but I used to be a master speller. I usually dominated my school’s spelling bee, walking away with a dot-matrix certificate and a pencil as the prize – big whoop. But over time, my built-in spell check has started to fade, and I notice my vocabulary being reduced to a series of grunts. It’s unfortunate.
Thankfully, Magmic have brought “the most popular digital word game of all time” into the BlackBerry realm to help all that. Pop Cap’s “Bookworm” is the perfect addition (and addiction) for any BlackBerry device, as not only does it feed your vocab, but your competitive nature, as well. Check after the jump for our review of Bookworm.
Don’t start thinking that this is the same as those shoddy educational games that kids can now find in cereal boxes. If there is any cheesiness in Bookworm, you’ll slowly learn to love it as the game grows on you with each word you’re able to find.
Bookworm is marketed as “part cross-word, part word jumble, part arcade puzzler, and all fun”, and that’s exactly it. Your job is to find words in the jumbled tiles that show up on screen, each word gradually feeding the game’s lead (and only) character, Lex the hungry little bookworm, and once his belly’s all full, you move on to the next level. Sound hokey? Maybe so. But it’s awesome.
The game downloads sound and smoothly over-the-air via BPlay’s site – didn’t take long at all to get onto my device. And as is usually the case with the first time you open an app, there’s a bit of a load time. In this instance, it’s so Bookworm can add its extensive dictionary of words onto your BlackBerry (takes maybe 10 seconds tops). After that, you’re ready to be reduced to an illiterate schlub or a glutton for glossary.
Your best bet before you get started is to hit the “settings menu”. If you noticed when the game first started up, the game’s soundtrack sounds about good as an annoying teen’s ringtone. First thing I did was turn that off – I need to be focused when I’m spelling. You can also choose to turn a tutorial on and off that will guide you through the game, same with a “hints” feature that gives little tips here and there.
A smart move from Magmic was putting in the “Backlight Override” (you can turn it on or off). I found myself staring at a black screen after 30 seconds of looking for the simplest of words, and this feature quickly solved that.
And after you’re finished being all finicky with the settings, you’re all set to battle the tiles in what is one of the most addicting games I’ve ever played. Period. I’m including every console I’ve ever sat down with, any flash game I’ve ever procrastinated schoolwork with, etc. It just gets to you – you need to find those words.
So as I mentioned, the premise is to find words that are jumbled within the tiles on your screen. The catch is the tiles need to be connected; otherwise you can’t put them together for a word. You can either use the jog dial or pearl to scroll over and click the letters you’d like to include, or be smart and just type in the word, another one of the great features that Magmic improved upon from the original. The more letters in the word, the higher your scoreâ€™ll be, and the quicker you’ll progress.
Coloured tiles appear on the board from time to time. Use those to make your words worth more points. As you move on in the game, you’ll notice the coloured tiles showing up more, as well as more “burning” tiles. These burning blocks wreak havoc on your playing board, burning away tiles that may have been useful to you three seconds ago. Your job is to use the burning tile in a word as soon as possible to avoid it catching neighbouring tiles.
If you’re having difficulty finding words, hit the space key and all of your tiles will scramble, possibly making more spelling opportunity’s, or losing other ones that you may have ignored. The hitch with this is that every scramble will bring more and more burning tiles into your playing area, and that’s just not fun to deal with. I’m not going to lie, it’s like there’s a fire in my apartment and I need to extinguish it. I get a little anxiety attack each time on of those buggers show up.
The end goal, though, is to keep feeding Lex and get higher and higher in rank. If you’re really crummy, you’ll score the title of “book burner”. The experts? They get the bragging rights of “bookworm supreme”. I wish it sounded as cool as “book burner”, but it’s still bragging rights nevertheless. Your best scores are kept in the “Hall of Fame” within the game that tells you what the best words are that you’ve found (highest point value, that is), the longest words, and your top score.
I don’t really know how much I can gush, though. This game is really fun, really addictive – just an overall solid gaming experience for the BlackBerry. Even my girlfriend was getting into it, and she hates my BlackBerry. The game’s available now from BPlay for just $7.95, or you can try and win it by taking part in our weekly contest. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a bookworm to feed.