Wordary puts a new spin on an old theme…literally.
I’ve always enjoyed word games. Probably because I’ve always enjoyed words. I spent many hours of my youth playing games like Boggle and Scrabble, and my enjoyment continued into my adult years with digital pursuits like Text Twist and Bookworm. When it comes to word games however, there really isn’t a whole lot someone can do to present something fresh and new. Wordary bucks that trend, looking to bring something a little different to a genre that doesn’t offer a lot of room for variation.
On the surface, Wordary has a very familiar construct. Itfollows the Bookworm model of gaming, as the player must make words from an array of letters only using those that are adjacent to each other. The player isn’t just given the standard rows-and-columns layout, but instead, is given a “six-petaled flower,” design made up of seven small hexagons (six around the outside with one in the middle), and each hexagon is made up of six letters. Each letter is connected to the first letter going clockwise, the first letter counter-clockwise, and the letter adjacent in the connecting hexagon. From this layout, the player must create words using only connected letters, and they must be connected in sequence with the proper spelling.
The real gimmick of the game is that each of the small hexagons can be rotated in order to realign letters allowing the player a much more expansive gaming experience.
There are four different game modes: Main Game, Time Challenge, Follow My Lead, and Word Finder. Main Game is kind of like the “Free Run” of Wordary. The player is given a puzzle and there are no time limits or goals to achieve. The Time Challenge Mode is the standard word-game mode where the player has a certain amount of time to make as many words as possible. Follow My Lead is an interesting challenge as the player is given a time limit, and each word they complete must contain the first letter or sequence of predetermined letters.
The fourth and least challenging mode is Word Finder, and is pretty self-explanatory. Players are given words one-at-a-time to find within the grid of letters. None of these modes are overly complex, but they do give enough variety to allow Wordary to avoid being overly mundane and repetitive. In all modes, letters have point values much the same as they do in Scrabble. If a player gets stuck and decides to Pass, the game reveals a word that could have been used and deducts the score of that word from the player’s points. Word score is not the only way players are ranked, as word count is also taken into account as well. Once the round has ended, the final numbers are evaluated and the player is given a ranking.
The controls for Wordary are simple and intuitive. Merely click on the letters in sequence to enter them in to the word-entry bar, then click the Enter button or double-click the last letter to score the word. If the player wants to rotate one of the hexagons to maneuver letters into position, they click the rotation symbol at the center of the hexagon they want to maneuver. The game is aesthetically simple with an assortment of colors, but it would be nice to have some choice in backgrounds with some sort of character to them.
When you get right down to it, Wordary is just a lot of fun and a nice little challenge. It’s very familiar, but just different enough to keep things interesting. While it could be better in the aesthetics department, the overall gameplay and variety of modes still keep it from becoming boring, which could come in handy for parents trying to steer their younger gamers towards a more educational gaming experience. However, it could also become problematic for the older, more experienced gamer who has a tough time stepping away from games like this, as they may end up staying up far later, or avoiding their work far more, than they should.