Despite the descriptive accuracy of its title, Word Puzzle is too shallow to satisfy fans of word puzzles.
- Contains both puzzles, words.
- Word-search gameplay gets old quick.
Word Puzzle is an Xbox Live Arcade game that, in a very literal way, lives up to its name. This is, in fact, a puzzle involving words, but not one that has much to offer the type of folks who enjoy wordplay enough to want to make a game out of it. To put a finer point on it, Word Puzzle is little more than a gussied-up word search--arguably one of the lowest forms of word puzzles--and it seems that as much effort was put into making the experience interesting as was put into naming the game.
So! How do you turn a basic word search, the type you might find on a kid's place mat at a family restaurant, into a video game you'd pay money for? Word Puzzle makes a few limp attempts, none of which have much staying power. The arcade mode challenges you to find words as quickly as you can by both putting a time limit on each puzzle and rewarding you with combo bonuses for finding words in quick succession. Any challenge this mode might've offered is thoroughly mitigated by the fact that you're provided with a full list of the words you're looking for, and that the game highlights a letter from the beginning or end of one of the words on the list. Survival mode is similar in concept, though it's a little more challenging; the game doesn't constantly highlight letters for you on the grid, and it prioritizes specific words on the list by requiring you to find them before a countdown timer runs out. The free play mode is the most basic of them all, letting you play at your own pace. There's also online multiplayer, where up to four can play on the same grid at once in what is essentially a phonetic scavenger hunt.
As you progress through the various modes, the grids you'll play on will start coming at you bigger, in odd shapes, and occasionally in a cube format, essentially giving you four word-search fields at once. An unfortunate side effect of the increased size of these grids is that the window in which the game shows you the grid isn't large enough to show you the whole thing at once. Since the window doesn't come close to filling the screen, this is something that could've been fixed by making the window bigger. Instead, it becomes one of the few sources of challenge in Word Puzzle.
With its plain title and presentation that makes the same dry allusions to the age of antiquity that virtually every other shareware or Flash-based brain teaser leans on, Word Puzzle assumes academic airs but ultimately isn't a very intellectually stimulating game.
- Downloadable Game