Popcap is back again with another title showing us exactly what they do best. For those of you unfamiliar with Popcap’s gift, it is the ability to create a game that draws you in and think, “ah, this will be a fun ten minutes.” Before you know it, you have carried on playing through the apocalypse, and monkeys have claimed the planet as their own, ruling it as they see fit in their monkey way. Or is that apes?
Semantics aside, let’s get back on track here, and talk about Bookworm Adventures: Volume 2.
Bookworm Adventures sees you taking the role of Lex, a wordy worm, as you travel throughout various stages, amassing to a total of three chapters. In each stage, you will find yourself pitted against five enemies of ever-increasing difficulty, leading to the inevitable boss battle. To defeat your enemies, you must spell words from an assortment of 16 random letters, with longer words dealing greater damage. However, the gameplay extends further than that. Like other addictive titles such as Puzzle Quest, this game merges casual and hardcore gameplay, attaching an RPG element to the game allowing you to level up and carry a variety of items, and a companion, to aid you in battle.
There are various abilities to mix up combat from a purely word-based affair. Certain bonus tiles will allow you to cause greater damage, as well as a variety of other special attacks ranging from damaging the enemy over time to healing yourself. You will also be subject to a special attack or two as enemies will steal potions from you, stun you or even inflict negative affects upon your letters. These can affect how you play by locking off certain letters from being used, or even spreading a plague among them making any tile that contacts it deal no damage when used in a word.
Like many Popcap games, it is a simple premise, yet addictive in nature. If you spent far too much of your youth with word games such as crosswords, or playing along with Countdown on the TV, (even though it’s not the same anymore, at least Susie Dent is still a reassuring presence in Dictionary Corner) then this game will offer you something to obsess about. You will yearn to get that elusive 16 letter word, or maybe just settle at being beaten after only achieving an eleven letter wonder like “trapezoidal”.
More so than its previous incarnation, the game is slick and polished with a clean interface that never feels obtrusive. On top of aesthetic changes, the game brings with it new elements, such as the ability to bring a companion into battle and several new ailments the enemy can inflict upon you and your precious tiles. One notable addition is the new game plus mode, which was sorely lacking from the first adventure.
The game is full of charm and humour as you traverse through numerous literary icons. From nursery rhymes, to Alice in Wonderland, to a sci-fi extravaganza, there are a handful of the memorable tales you’ll encounter. A lot of the humour may be groan-inducing puns, but you can’t help but slowly fall in love with the game in all its casual cuteness.
The majority of Volume 2 seemed to offer very little challenge, however if you do get stuck to the point where you blast through the last of your potions, it can be quite arduous to work your way out of this. I personally had some issues with the last boss, and its constant desire to brutally maim me, which as a result, sucked up all my potions and drained my ability to heal myself when I wanted. The only way I could replenish them was to march into battle and die time and time again to gain a few potions. Replaying an earlier and easier level would have been considerably less frustrating.
All in all, Bookworm Adventures: Volume 2 succeeds in filling the gap during your lunch breaks, and quite possibly, take up your entire afternoon. There’s enough quality gameplay here to entice just about any type of gamer, despite it’s few frustrating qualities. Bookworm Adventures: Volume 2 is definately worth your time, especially if you’re finally finished with Plants Vs. Zombies and looking for something else to tackle.
The game carries a bright and bold charm that is hard to deny.
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It's everything you'd expect from Popcap, and as such, you won't be able to put it down.
A great score accompanies Bookworm Adventures: Volume 2 that seems to have missed some sound in the cut scenes.
The main adventure is a decent length, and the game offers mini games as well as a Game Plus mode on top.
The game is simple, addictive and silly. Whilst it changes very few elements from the original, minimal change was needed to recapture the tremendous amount of fun.