Panda Poet proves that word games still have some life in them yet
With Triple Town the team at Spry Fox managed to breath new life into the match-3 genre. And Panda Poet does the same for word games. The gameplay is easy to understand and incredibly addictive, and it doesn’t hurt that the whole experience is pretty darn adorable as well. You may think that all word games are the same, but Panda Poet proves that there’s still life left in the genre.
Unsurprisingly, the game feels a lot like Triple Town in a number of ways. Actually, it’s probably best described as combination of Triple Town and Words With Friends. The game takes place on a grid and when you first start there’s a number of letters in the center. As per usual, the goal is to make words from those letters. But unlike in, say, Scrabble, the letters don’t have to be connected to be used. You can simply select any available letters to make a word.
As you make new words additional letters will appear on the screen, and you and your opponent will take turns until the board is completely full. The goal, of course, is to get the highest score. Certain letters are worth more points than others, and you’ll come across ones that provide multipliers to boost your points total even further. But the other distinguishing factor comes from the titular pandas. As you create words letters will turn into pandas that can increase your score, and you can link pandas together to create even bigger ones worth even more points. The best part, though, is that through a bit of strategic play you can overtake your opponent’s pandas, and so much of the game becomes a back and forth over who can control the pandas and the points they hold.
This feature alone makes Panda Poet a very enjoyable multiplayer experience, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the game with other people. You can play with either friends or strangers online (inviting someone is as simple as sending an invitation via email), or you can play on the same computer with another person. It’s got that same addictive asynchronous play found in Words With Friends, and you can have any number of games going at once.
When you combine the incredibly addictive gameplay with a rather charming presentation — including a truly excellent soundtrack and plenty of cute little pandas — Panda Poet becomes a game you can waste a lot of time with. The base game is free, though you can pay a one-time $3 fee to play the game on a bigger board without any ads (not that they’re particularly obtrusive). Either way it’s a good deal. The only real complaint we have is that the game is probably even better suited to a mobile device, where asynchronous play is more convenient. But even in your browser Panda Poet is one of the best word games we’ve yet come across.