Bookworm Adventures 2 Review

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Bookworm Adventures 2 Publisher: PopCap Games
Developer: PopCap Games

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: DirectX 8, internet connection, Windows XP or more recent operating system

"The walls of fiction are collapsing as characters run wild through the Great Library, and only Lex the Bookworm can save the world from certain doom! Build words and battle monsters to survive three storybooks with 10 chapters each. Trade barbs, banter and body blows with over 130 foes, and earn help from fighting friends along the way!"

Kyle Ackerman

When the first Bookworm Adventures was released, many assumed that it would be a sequel to Bookworm, simply an enhanced version of the original title, and were disappointed when it turned out to be a delightful game in which the bookworm Lex used a smaller pool of letters to form words with which to browbeat his literature-themed foes. When not viewed through the filter of the original Bookworm, Bookworm Adventures was a positively spectacular and engaging game of wordplay with just enough elements of role-playing game-style turn-based battles to engage even the hardcore gamer. Bookworm Adventures 2 extends the original Bookworm Adventures through another three books.

This time, the bookworm Lex is pursuing his evil twin (and even more sinister mechanical entities) through three new books, spanning fairytales, Chinese folklore and the futuristic "Astounding Planet." Each book has ten chapters filled with challenging enemies (each with an amusing description and equally funny attacks inspired by familiar characters). To deal with these threats, Lex collects items and companions who aid him in individual combat, with even more options than in the first Bookworm Adventures.

For those who aren't familiar with the game's play, Lex faces off in each battle with a pool of sixteen letters. The better and longer the word Lex can construct, the more damage he does to his enemy. To this end, Lex can equip items that do more damage or enhance the impact of certain types of words (for example, words with double vowels). There are also special tiles that increase damage or even heal Lex from damage done by his enemies. Of course, opponents have similar powers, and can stun Lex, or even transform the pool of available tiles, replacing common vowels with difficult letters like "X" or "Z." The challenge is to defeat every enemy without running out of health, to ultimately recover a missing pen.

The game is really an exercise in wordplay of the moment. It isn't as productive as it was in games like Bookworm to try to shape the pool of letters to make spectacular words, because your letters might change in an instant. Instead, it makes sense to create the best word you can out of the existing pool, perhaps risking the wait of a single turn for another letter. Often, any effort to shape a word over multiple turns is undermined by opponents after the earliest of challenges.

If you can't collect enough potions or special tiles to help you defeat enemies, opportunities arise to play mini-games that will yield items to help Lex in his adventures. Of course, these word-forming mini-games can also be played from the main menu, and serve as a pleasant diversion for a few moments of brain-teasing fun. Importantly, Lex's experience continues to grow throughout the adventure, making him more powerful, able to withstand more of a beating and better able to defend himself. He grows in experience even if you fail, so death can still contribute to future success, making the game accessible to casual gamers alongside hardcore fans.

While there is some replay value in the ability to work through the adventure again for points, or to battle every boss in sequence in an arena, the basic game offers enough fun to make it easy to recommend to anyone. Try it out, and help Lex survive his travels through time and fiction.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on August 17, 2009 5:39 AM.

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