This past week, I have had the opportunity to get some solid hands on time with dreamfab’s new iOS release, Word Wonders: The Tower of Babel. This game is the first entry by dreamfab into the word puzzle genre, and although I have not yet made it through all 50 levels that the game has to offer, I can tell you that I have made it through enough of them to say that I am pleasantly surprised. When first seeing the press release from dreamfab that stated Word Wonders: The Tower of Babel would be “an exciting and unique mixture of word puzzle gaming and classic RPG features”, I had trouble picturing how that would even work. Now that I have played the game, not only does it work, but it works extremely well adding another dimension to your average, sometimes boring, word puzzle game. It’s like Scrabble meets World of Warcraft in this highly additive word puzzler.
Word Wonders: The Tower of Babel
EB 9 out of 10 Buddhas
- Simple Word Game-play
- Various RPG features (potions, spells, alchemy)
- Balanced level of Challenge
- High replay value
The Not so Awesome
- Music (personal preference)
Once you start your game, you will quickly realize this is not your average word game that takes place on a board. You start your quest at the base level of a tower which spans five total floors, in which you must work your way to the top. Along the way, you will encounter 50 challenges in which you must defeat your opponent in word based duel. During the duel, players are presented with a simple word board that has a starting word and each player has 7 letter tiles. However unlike Scrabble, you will notice that instead of point values on the tiles, you will be presented with skulls, energy bolts, both, or nothing at all. It is these combination of symbols that will dictate how quickly you dispose of your opponent to complete the challenge and move onto the next level. When looking at each player, you will notice a health status represented by hearts and an energy status represented by lightning bolts. As you battle your opponent, you must be cognitive of the word combinations you use to try and maximize the amount of damage you deal and the amount of energy you earn. Sometimes you can achieve both, and sometimes you must make a tough choice to decide what will benefit you the most. One of the most appealing aspects of the game was the size of the word board, which typically accommodates smaller words vs. traditional word puzzlers. Personally I feel this helps to keep the game-play moving in addition to making sure you maximize each of your turns.
One of five floors you must pass on your quest
Starting out, early enemy challengers did not offer much of a challenge and I thought that I would breeze right through the levels. However don’t let early challenges fool you, because you will quickly start to face enemies that start out with much more health than you do, double in some cases. This is where your use of alchemy and various spells become very important. Through your journey, you have the ability to level up increasing your maximum health, maximum energy, and the types of potions that you can mix. Potions can either be earned directly by defeating enemies, or can be mixed by you through the use of various ingredients that you earn and can purchase throughout the game. There are many different potions that you can mix, but two of my favorite are the large health potion which restores 8 health points, or the orange squib which deals an immediate 4 damage to your opponent before ever making a move. You can use one potion per turn up until you run out. In addition, you can also use various spells at a cost of your accumulated energy. However, choose wisely as you can only use a specific spell every 3 turns assuming you have the energy to do so. Through the combination of potions, spells, and your played word, you can deal a significant amount of damage to your enemy in just one turn. Just remember, your enemy can and will do the same to you in return, which at times will leave you frustrated.
Just some of the available options on the Alchemy menu
In addition to the use of potions and spells during your challenges, you are able to level up your character and unlock new spells through the use of the boost board. The boost board lets you play boost tiles that you earn, or buy throughout the game to create words that will add additional capabilities to your character. As you fill up the boost board, you can also unlock additional space on the board by visiting the shop and purchase board upgrades through the use of coins earned during your journey. Opening up a larger space on the board allows you to create more words and “boost” the various aspects of your character, all which become very critical during the later stages of your game.
The Boost Board provides opportunities to strengthen your character
If the ability to level up your character, create potions, and activate spells is not enough for you, then you also have the opportunity to complete a list of 34 in game challenges that can also be earned. Some can be achieved during your normal course of game-play, and some will likely require you put a specific focus on and could take multiple play throughs.
There are achievements for those that want a little extra incentive
There are so many awesome features with this iOS game, I honestly find it difficult to knock it for anything relating to actual game-play. The only thing I found a little bit annoying was the back ground music that is playing at different points during the game, in which I turned off and it took nothing away from the game. As with any game, background music is such a personal preference that it is hard to knock the entire game for sound unless it is just flat out distracting. Overall, Word Wonders: The Tower of Babel does an awesome job of delivering what it promised in the press release, and that is combining a word puzzler with aspects of a classic RPG. This game is challenging, has something to offer to a variety of gamers, and offers a high-replay value as you have the opportunity to circle back and play the entire game at two harder levels. This solid offering for iOS leads me to give it a rating of an EB 9 out of 10 Buddhas. This is a definite purchase for you word puzzle fans that want something outside the box. For dreamfab’s first entry into the word puzzle genre, I think they hit it out of the park.
Download Word Wonders: The Tower of Babel here from the App Store
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