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Review: Bookworm

August 12, 2009



Bookworm is a tile based word game where you spell words by tapping consecutive tiles. Letters have to touch each other to connect to spell a word. The main character is Lex the Bookworm who you help to make as many words as you can. The iPhone version is just like the original pc version with a classic mode, and action mode. Your goal is to score as many points as you can without letting burning titles reach the bottom as that will burn the library. Bookworm_collections


There are a few iPhone unique features. The neatest is the book collection that provides varying categories of words to collect. There is a pets book, and you need to spell words like dog, cat, and fish. Then there is a body parts book with toe, foot, and hand. You get the idea. There are nine different collections with each having from 9-12 words to collect providing reason to continue playing. Also you simply tilt the iPhone to landscape to bring up your collection progress in-game. Bookworm_save Another feature is shake to scramble all of the letters on the board. When you scramble more burning tiles appear, and you can’t use scramble when you’re on the precipice of losing with a burning tile is at the bottom. As you play bonus tiles appear: green, gold, and diamond that really improve your word scores. On certain words Lex will give you the definition of the word. In classic mode you have an unlimited amount of time to make as long and as many words as you can. In attack mode it’s time based, so the longer you take to make words, the more fire tiles will appear. Personal stats are kept indicating your high score, highest level, and best words for both modes.

The Good

The basic Bookworm gameplay is intact since it’s a direct port from the PC version. Popcap knows how to make fun games, and this is Popcap’s word game. The gameplay and controls are simple allowing you to concentrate on figuring out words. Bookworm_fire Spelling words is made fun by Popcap’s style. If you want slow and methodical there’s an option, if you want fast paced and hectic there’s an option for that. It's great to scan the board to make as long of a word as you can, or to find a way to spell the bonus word or some of the words from the collections. Also the game is set up so that you can see how removing some tiles can connect new letters to make the words you're looking for. The game provides challenge, and fun. The save system is great, and allows you to keep a save file for both gameplay modes at once. The visuals are extremely polished, and look even better than the pc version. The gameplay board is slick, and the animations are nicely designed. The burning tiles actually burn, and when you spell a word they fly into Lex’s mouth. The sounds are nice, but nothing special. I guess we should be thankful the background music is even included. Bookworm only has one song that gets quite monotonous after awhile. Lex has a few sayings, and the burning tiles location heightens the speed of the song. That’s about it though as far as sounds. Bookworm_fire

The Bad

There are no online high scores, so the book collections are the only component of replayability. The gameplay itself is the reason to continue playing, but online high score would definitely be great. It would be easier to spell longer words if you could repeat a letter, but you can’t. The classic mode seems a little slow paced, especially in the early levels so you never worry about losing which takes some of the fun away. As you reach the higher levels it gets tougher, and contains more fun, but when you reach level 50, so what?

The Verdict

Bookworm is a great word game, and Popcap made a great decision to port it to the iPhone. The major downside is that it’s more or less a direct port. There are more and more iPhone unique word games entering the App Store all the time. The two modes provide different types of fun depending on how you feel. Online high scores are lacking, and it gets repetitive after awhile. Bookworm doesn't mess with success and ports the great gameplay and the typical Popcap polish. Nothing special is included to push it over the top so it's a should buy. [gallery link="file" columns="4"]

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