Bookworm Adventures: Finished

bwa-scoreboardBookworm Adventures is a pretty short game. It has three chapters (themed on Greek mythology, Arabian Nights stories, and classic horror — all it needs is a generic fantasy/fairy tale chapter and an African chapter and it would be the Quest for Glory series). I completed one chapter per session. I’m not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, I’m not a fan of padding games out unnecessarily. This game demonstrates all of the special attributes monsters can have — attack side-effects, defensive powers, vulnerabilities to particular categories of word — and once the game is out of new tricks, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. On the other hand, padding things out is largely what RPGs do. It somehow seems wrong to keep it short.

It may have been designed this way because PopCap is more comfortable with the casual stuff, and regarded Adventure mode as a mere introduction to the real meat of the game, Arena mode, which is unlocked when you finish the plot. In Arena mode, you challenge the various boss monsters again, starting over at experience level 1, but with all of the game’s magic items available. There are changes in how you acquire potions and how experience points are earned, but the main difference is that Arena mode is realtime. So much for sedate gameplay and falling asleep mid-battle. I don’t really care for Arena mode: much of the pleasure in Adventure mode came from searching for the very best word that the available tiles could make, and you just don’t have time for that when the enemy is killing you whether you play or not. Instead, you have to play whatever mediocre words you can find quickly. It’s probably more interesting to watch than Adventure mode, though, in which (as I played it, at least) the player spends a lot of time just staring at the screen without doing anything.

2 Comments so far

  1. malkav11 on 12 Apr 2008

    Huh. I’ve been working my way through the first chapter for ages now. I think maybe you’re just playing it more in one sitting than PopCap expected.

  2. Rabscuttle on 13 Apr 2008

    Arena didn’t do much for me either.

    It’s possible to replay the adventure mode, but that means creating a new player and it takes a while to get to the point where the gameplay is interesting – probably the point where the gems first appear. Also, there are a couple of places where the letters you get are non-random. When you’ve done it seven times, you end up trying to avoid the same words. :/

    Some sort of option to fight a random monster, would be good, similar to Puzzle Quest.

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