Not every game development studio can pull off a game that involves defeating hordes of baddies with the power of spelling. But not every game development studio is PopCap, the intrepid developers of Bookworm Adventures Volume 2.
Bookworm Adventures Volume 2 is a lengthy, satisfying game.
Popcap has a knack for making games endowed with a special kind of vision. They seem to be able to see, much clearer than anyone else, the blurry line between a casual, fun distraction and deep, addictive game. The original Bookworm Adventures was one such title, which told the bonkers story of Lex the bookworm, travelling through works of ancient and modern literature, and defeating a series of enemies by arranging words from a set of scrambled letters. The more complicated, and longer the word, the more damage was dealt to the foe. To this, Popcap added some basic role playing elements: Certain artifacts enhanced your points and damage, and certain letters would be highlighted with coloured ‘jewels’ that unleashed various effects when used.
So how does Volume 2 iterate this formula? For a start, everything here is as good as it used to be. The plot is satisfyingly insane, Lex is as adorable as ever, and the in-game banter between him and his foes is still laugh out-loud. The game is accessible to almost everyone, though some of the later stages demand an admirable English vocabulary. Everything now has a shiny new coat of polish: The enemies look sharper, and better animated, the cutscenes are bright and colourful and everything just feels justifiably enhanced for a Volume 2. There’s a new companion system, allow you to drag a willing (or unwilling) companion around your adventures. There’s abundant evidence of Popcap’s little touches of genius, with the consistently hilarious text captions and descriptions.
Do not underestimate the power of ‘DEBATE’, evil feline!
Even after you’ve gotten through the lengthy story mode, there are the Arena trials to plow through, and the frequent mini-games peppered throughout the story offer temporary welcome respite from all the vocabulary onslaught.
Bookworm Adventures’ joys are all its own: Defeating ogres and evil cats with ‘onomatopoeia,’ groaning with agony at a particularly bad set of letters, and promising yourself just that ‘one’ more level before you call it a day.
After the superlative Plants Vs Zombies a few months back, this game proves Popcap is at the top of whatever summit they’d decided to climb. Gamers will find plenty to love in this title, with its welcoming difficulty and addictive gameplay. Even those unfamiliar with games will find Bookworm Adventures Volume 2 a great place to start. The icing on the cake? It’s available for Rs199 at http://www.popcap.com. Go play.