Like many of you, when I heard of the word search game called World Puzzle, I yawned several times. Whoopie, a game where you find words in a grid of random letters, yawn. Oh, but how wrong I was. Word Puzzle has magically transformed something soporific (a regular word search) into something exciting and addictive. They could have called it EXTREME Word Search!
The game focuses on giving you a list of words and having you find them in a grid of jumbled letters. The words in the grid can be vertical, horizontal, even backwards. The catch to the game is that there's usually time limit that carries over from round to round (in Arcade Mode), represented by the bar on the right side of the screen, or some bomb to diffuse. If the blue liquid in the bar trickles until it's empty, it's GAME OVER.
In Arcade Mode, the liquid carries over per round and the only way to build the liquid up is to execute combos by finding words quickly. In Survival Mode, which is more like a story mode, the object is to defuse bombs by finding words that have a countdown next to them before the bombs go off. In Free Play Mode, the most relaxing of them all, you have your ordinary word search without any time limits or bombs threatening to explode.
The playing field varies from round to round. It first starts out with a simple field of letter but the difficulty soon ramps up by having you look at a huge grid that needs to be scrolled over in order to see other letters. Then there are pyramid shaped grids to scroll through, and grids that are like the faces of a cube that need to be turned to even be visible. These are all things that up the ante in Word Puzzle.
In addition to the various type of fields, there are also annoyances like a dancing silhouette blocking your screen, clouds blocking parts of your screen, and a solar eclipse which causes you to only see the part of the screen the cursor is on. These might have been put in to make the game more challenging, but they just seemed gimmicky in an otherwise solid puzzle game.
Some tips to keep in mind while playing the game:
– Instead of searching for one word at a time, try to remember as many words as possible off the word list so you can see if any of them pop out as you scan the field.
– In Survival Mode, always keep note of which words are ticking bombs and try to search for those first.
– In the cube-rotating fields, keep your eye out for clue letter blocks (the white ones) while the cube is still rotating so you can spot them before the cube has even finished rotating.
– In cube-rotating fields, if the clue letter blocks are on an adjacent side, you'll be able to see them on the sides of the current face without rotating.
– To save time, get used to selecting words backwards as well as forwards so that when your cursor is at the end of the word, you can start selecting from there instead of moving the cursor all the way to the beginning of the word and selecting from there.
Then there's multiplayer mode, which I never would have imagined. The premise is simple: find more words than your opponents to rack up the points. If someone had told me there was a way to play against someone else while doing a word search, I would have laughed in their faces. The added competition actually makes word searches fun. The different themes in Survival Mode also help keep the game interesting. One minute you're looking at a sphinx in Egypt, the next minute you're saving some Chinese statue.
I have to applaud the developers for turning something boring into a "don't bother me, I'm looking for words!" game. The lists of words as well as the bonuses like finding synonyms for words even make the game educational. While it's not as exciting as an FPS, it's definitely more exciting than sitting down with the Sunday paper.