Unlike the original Bookworm game, which takes place on one screen and the player creates words with connected letters, Bookworm Adventures doesn't require selecting connected letters to create words.
Each of the three books in the story contains ten chapters. Lex must battle his way from the start of the chapter to the big boss at the end of the chapter in search of the kidnapped Cassandra, the oracle.
After defeating the big boss of the chapter, Lex gains a strength or power to help him in bigger and more challenging battles that await him. Lex can only choose three of these powers at the start of a chapter. It's a challenge to select wisely as available powers include those that provide protection, more power in attacking the enemy and helping Lex regain some of his health.
Not only do you create words, but you also try to create them with helpers like gemstones or special words to add more power. The longer the word, the more power Lex gets in attacking the enemy. A super long word can kill an enemy on the first shot.
The story contains a mix of characters and scenery found in The Odyssey, Greek myths, Egypt, and monsters like Frankenstein, the Mummy and Dracula. Cassandra guides Lex throughout the game so the player doesn't need to read any boring instructions to play the game.
The instructions and Lex's commentary are full of humor to keep the player hooked. Starting the game, I instinctively moved fast, thinking time made a difference. Relax, it doesn't. Take your time. Make big words.
The game has slight changes to keep it interesting and make an addict out of you as it did me. For instance, the enemy can render some letters in the 4×4 grid useless. You can still use the smashed or plagued tiles, but it affects the points you earn. Lex lets you know how powerful your word is by providing verbal responses. Here is the order of comments from least powerful to most powerful: Good, Wow, Nice, Very Good, Awesome, Excellent, Fantastic and Astonishing! We want Lex to say, "Astonishing," often, but "Awesome" and "Excellent," will do.
You also have to watch Lex's and his foe's health on the Health Meters. Get the bad guy's (or gal's) meter to zero and you've defeated him. If Lex reaches zero on the Health meter, he dies and returns to the start of the chapter. A section of the game screen contains lore about the enemy, so you know what to expect in the battle and the enemy's weaknesses.
Lex also gains potions such as power-up, purify, and heart as he defeats enemies. These potions restore his health. Along the way, Lex can play mini-games to earn more potions. Upon completing a book, the game shows how many four-letter words, five-letter words and so on you made for the book as well as your average.
The game has five modes: a primary story mode (Adventure), three mini-games (Word Master, Letter Rip and Link-n-Spell) and a timed mode (Arena) – it's the Arena game where you have to work fast. Only the Adventure mode is available at the beginning of the game, but others are unlocked as you advance in the Adventure. Get more great game play tips from Popcap.
The game contains spectacular graphics and animation. You know how TV networks replay sports plays in slow mode? The game cuts away in slow mode to show Lex crushing his opponent (see image on the right).
It's impossible to get bored in Bookworm Adventures with the diversity of characters, conversations, twists, power, and mini-games. Its variety will magnetize fans of word games, Scrabble, adventure games, and mythology. Heck, my young children couldn't help but watch. Popcap Games continues its remarkable ability to construct captivating diversions with Bookwork Adventures (this sentence gets a high score!). The company gets me every time I discover a new game. Darn 'em!
Bookworm Adventures doesn't have an official rating, but it qualifies for E (Everyone) as explained by the ESRB.
OS: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
Memory: 256 MB RAM
Processor: 700MHz or faster