Someone should be sued at PopCap. Their games have cost companies productivity, families quality time, and therapy sessions for the addicted that the people responsible should pay up. Worse yet, they keep releasing things like Bookworm Adventures to keep this country glued to their PCs and not doing the things they should.
Bookworm was an addictive casual title in which you link lettered tiles together to form words. Adventures one ups that concept with full RPG trappings including leveling up, weapons, monster fighting, and the same required level of word knowledge. It’s more addictive than before.
The core gameplay is simpler this time around. Instead of a full screen of tiles, there’s a small 8×8 square on the bottom of the screen. Letters don’t have to be connected to form words. The bigger the word, the more damage bookworm Lex dishes out to a wide array of monsters.
After each of Lex’s attacks, the enemy retaliates. A number of factors come into play in determining damage, from potions, power-ups, shields, and other items picked up and equipped along the way. Before each stage, you can equip Lex with three different pieces of equipment, some which boost defense or add bonuses to specific letters (amongst numerous other things).
The pleasant graphics offer cartoonish versions of familiar monsters in a fantasy setting. However, the sharp, witty writing makes the battles so entertaining. The constant jabs tossed out between Lex and his foes are hilarious, giving Adventures a campy, family friendly appeal.
The entire adventure will likely run about seven or ten hours depending on how deep your vocabulary is. The maps are different storybooks split up into different stages with roughly six or seven challenges in each. Mini-games break the standard gameplay routine with additionally fun takes on the word genre, and can be played outside of the main adventure once unlocked.
Bookworm Adventures has a crushing flaw, though. There’s no multi-player. The versus gameplay that makes up the solo campaign writes itself for multiple human combatants to go head to head. There’s still plenty of value to derive from this word romp, but this critical missed mode keeps it from perfection. For word fanatics, they rarely come any better than this, multi-player or not.
Bookworm Adventures is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Animated Blood, Mild Cartoon Violence.