Bookworm

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Bookworm

Bookworm - WIN - USA.jpg

Windows - USA - Cover.

Developer PopCap Games
Publisher Astraware
Published 2002-11-29
Platforms BlackBerry, BREW, Browser, Game Boy Advance, iOS, J2ME, Macintosh, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Palm OS, Windows, Windows Mobile
Genres Casual, Passive puzzle, Puzzle, Word game
Series Bookworm

Bookworm is a word video game developed by PopCap Games and published by Astraware for Palm OS on 2002-11-29 then ported to a number of other platforms. It's the first game in the Bookworm series, and was upgraded to Bookworm Deluxe! which added an action mode and a couple other minor features.

The game is kind of a mashup of existing titles. Letter tiles cover the playing field and you must form words with them in a contiguous line (like Boggle). The rarity of each letter increases its point value (like Scrabble), and, highlighting a word causes it to disappear and be replaced by new letters which fall from the top (like Bejeweled). Flaming letters occasionally appear and burn their way down if not used in a word. If they reach the bottom of the playing field, the game ends.

Personal

Own?No.
Won?Yes. USA Game Boy Advance port.
Finished2023-02-15.

I remember seeing a Flash port of Bookworm Deluxe! in the late 2000s. I played it for a few levels, but found it dull, and I assumed it would go on forever, so I stopped. Many years later, while looking for a new Game Boy Advance game to play, I saw that the original Bookworm had been ported to the platform. Curious to see what it was like, I began playing it, but quickly became bored with it again. However, I saw a video which showed the game eventually stops increasing named levels, so I decided to reach that point and call it a win. I reached "Bookworm Supreme" at 1,500,000 points. I doubt I'll play it any more.

Review

Video Game Review Icon - Enjoyment.png Video Game Review Icon - Control.png Video Game Review Icon - Appearance.png Video Game Review Icon - Sound.png Video Game Review Icon - Replayability.png
4 6 5 2 3

Best Version: Windows

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • By adding a replacement set of letters after each word, the game cycles through letters faster than most word games which helps keep the board fresh.
  • The flaming letters appear more frequently when you use shorter words which encourages the player to seek harder words.
  • The addition of bonus tiles and bonus words makes the game a bit more interesting.
  • The game has a clean interface with good controls and adequate graphics.
  • The encouragement you get from the bookworm after scoring a good words is nice.
  • The explosion animation when you get a game over is hilarious.
  • In some versions of Bookworm Deluxe!, the game defines rare words for you, which helps a little at increasing your vocabulary.

Bad

  • Because new letters only ever fall from the top, the letters at the bottom on the play field stagnate. I kept accumulating large clumps of vowels at the bottom without any words to spell with them.
  • As far as I could tell, the game doesn't actually get any harder as you progress. After over 10 hours in, it still seemed like I was getting about the same out of vowels and consonants. Maybe a slight increase in flame tiles, but, not enough to make it difficult. It's more a test of endurance.
  • Like with many word games, the original game doesn't actually increase your vocabulary because, even if you stumble upon a new word, you won't know what it means. Only the Deluxe version offers definitions, and then, only sparingly.
  • The game doesn't have an ending, it just keeps going forever. However, named levels stop progressing at 1,500,000 points, and you just keep repeating the same level name from that point on.
  • The music is awful and there is only a single song which plays for the entire game. At least they have a setting to turn it off.

Ugly

  • If a single flaming tile ever reaches the bottom, you lose all your progress and have to start over. Considering it took me over 11 hours to reach the final rank, this can be a severe setback.

Media

Box Art

All of the box variations feature the titular bookworm and the logo, with variations on the background graphics.

Documentation

Videos

Game play - Game Boy Advance.
Game play - Palm OS.
Game play - Windows.
Tool Assist - Windows.

Representation

Strong female character?FailThere aren't any strong characters.
Bechdel test?FailNo female characters speak.
Strong person of color character?FailThere aren't any strong characters.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.

Links

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