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Bookworm Adventures Deluxe PC Review

05/02/2009 Family Family Gamer Review
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Bookworm Adventures Deluxe PC

Bookworm Adventures Deluxe



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Mousey Gamer (PC)

Bookworm Adventures takes the idea of the classic Bookworm game and builds a story around it. Rather than just collecting points and getting up in rank in the library Lex, the green bookworm representing the player, now has to use word smarts to defeat monsters and monster lookalikes. Bookworm Adventures is like mixing educational software with action games, the good ol' Bookworm meets Doom.

One nice thing about Bookworm Adventures is that right after the startup the gaming can begin. The story unfolds: Lex needs the help of the player to rescue the oracle Cassandra. One embarks on a multi-tier adventure consisting of three books each split into ten chapters. By default, the game starts with the first book, because the other adventures are locked until the first book is completed.

The task is to make words based on the letters provided in a grid. Longer words with tricky to use letters will get the villains on their knees more quickly. Lex comments on the awesomeness of the word created and then swirls around to pounce on the villain with a targeted kung fu kick. The villain will retaliate, but depending on how good the word was it may only turn out to be a slight bop on Lex's head. One has to watch out so that the damage done by the villains doesn't kill Lex.

In the beginning the monsters go down quite easily even with cheesy words. As the game progresses the word smithing has to become more robust, but the player gets some help by collecting life potions, treasures that give magical powers, and hints on how to beat the monsters into submission. What is really amazing is that with all the beating up that is going on Lex never has his glasses or bow tie shifting out of place.

This word game is a nice tool to get kids to learn spelling and reading.

Bookworm Adventures is fun for anyone who likes word games. The graphics are entertaining and support the idea of the game, but there is no überpowered 3D glitz that requires an expensive gaming rig. The text sequences, progress bar notes, and Lex's comments are very funny. Even Lex's voice adds to the overall fun factor sounding a lot like Alvin and the Chipmunks. There is always something going on and this is the key for spending hours on playing. Bookworm Adventures uses user accounts to save the state of the game. That way one doesn't have to start over each time and can let someone else play by creating an additional account.

A glitch comes to show right after the first chapter of book one. At the end of each chapter a map is shown that plots the travels of Lex. The first chapter is titled 'Ancient Greece', but when the map shows up Lex is about to leave the boot of Italy to go to Sicily for the next adventure. Some slight adjustments to the villains' characters and renaming the chapter 'Ancient Rome' would have fixed this.

The music is a nice background noise at the beginning, but since it is often just the same short sequence tootling over and over it gets annoying after a while. Luckily, one short trip to the options allows for turning the music off without having to sacrifice the sound effects as well.

A lot of effort was put into making the fun factor go through the roof.

Bookworm enthusiasts want to put their vocabulary to the test. So wrapping the game idea into a story line is a nice twist, but the text sequences and extra action really slow the game flow down. For those who never played the original Bookworm game it may be OK, but hard core Bookworm gamers quickly end up clicking on the screen as quickly as possible to pass by the conversations, although during the first time playing the hints are likely to be helpful.

This word game is a nice tool to get kids to learn spelling and reading. But I wonder if there had to be so much violence. While one probably wants to keep the self-shooter games out of the hands of the younger kids Bookworm sounds OK at first, but the action aspect is nothing else than brutal killing scenes. The game is designed for ages 6 and up, but it appears as that it may be more suitable for mature teens and adults. Otherwise one has to explain that kicking someone's face is not OK just because some green bookworm does it in the computer game.

Overall, this cute game has the same addiction potential as all of the other PopCap Games. The change to the basic idea of the Bookworm game is really well done. A lot of effort was put into making the fun factor go through the roof. The graphics are nice without requiring a high end system. This one is a keeper and makes for hours of thrilling word smithing.

Written by Andy Robertson

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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