Capsule Review: Bookworm Adventures

Spelling, contextualized with lightweight RPG tactics and resource management.

A spelling game framed as a simple RPG. Progress through a series of combat encounters, attacking by spelling words with mechanics inspired by the original Bookworm. Letter tiles are in a grid and are replaced when used, although this time the grid is smaller but there’s no need for the letters to be adjacent. Longer words or those with less common letters still score better, though this time that translates into how much damage your attack does. High-value plays still award bonus tiles, but these now confer a variety of beneficial effects when used, such as healing you or poisoning the enemy. Enemies have their own attacks which will damage your health and sometimes confer various negative effects - including to the letter grid, such as causing certain tiles not to be worth any points. As you progress through the game you earn equippable treasures that have varying bonuses such as increasing your defense or causing metal-related words to do extra damage. There’s also a story, though it can be safely ignored.

The RPG mechanics run pretty shallow, but they’re really only there to create a context for the spelling. Combat provides clear and frequent milestones - rather than playing until you lose, now you play to defeat an enemy, and then another, and another, and then a boss. If you enjoy spelling words, this is a fun way to approach it - if you don’t, the RPG trappings won’t change that.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished the game - eventually, after drifting away multiple times. I expect I’d have finished it much faster if it weren’t PC-only - for me, this sort of gameplay is far more suited to mobile or handheld.

Docprof's Rating:

Two Stars: Meh. The game has some merit - it probably held my attention for at least an hour or I came back to it for more than one play session. But there wasn't enough draw for me to stick with it for the long haul.

You can get it or learn more here.