In a world where words can hurt — like not just emotionally but on an extremely physical level– you wake up with an awful hangover — which is to say that you’re a native to this world, you haven’t used the power of booze to astrally teleport or something. The people of the valley you’re now in are being plagued by the evil Lord Nightmare who is, unsurprisingly, making it really difficult for people to sleep. Will you take up the cause of the local villagers, vanquishing monsters until you rush up to Nightmare’s Keep to deck him in the schnoz? Or will you just do all this junk because it means you can leave the valley and move on. You decide! Spell, use items, craft things, and solve puzzles in an adventure for all time!
Word Realms was the second game made by Asymmetric Publications and designed by Zack “Jick” Johnson and Kevin Simmons. It’s creation was funded through Kickstarter exceeding it’s asking price, $100,000, by a narrow margin. Johnson and Simmons had been discussing the idea of the game for months on the Kingdom of Loathing Podcast and working on it on and off before the campaign started. The Kickstarter ended on June 21st, 2012 and the game was released on May 21st, 2013. It’s competition was Fez (PC), Monaco: What’s yours is Mine (XBox Live Indie Arcade), and Resident Evil: Revelations (PC, PS3, XBox 360, and WiiU).
I’ll just say this, my grandmother is better than me at this game. I bought it for her as a Christmas present because I knew she liked Scrabble so I figured she’d have fun with this. Little did I know that she would blow me out of the water. She breezed through the game and even thought it was a little on the easy side. I’ve been playing games for decades and I felt so upset but… why? What kind of petty jerk feels bad because his grandma is better at a game than him? — the pettiest of jerks, that’s who. So, I recognize my grammie as the resident Scrabble queen, long be her reign.
Word Realms is a lot like Scrabble, except your words score is the damage that your attack will do and that your rounds have a strict time limit. Monsters fight in a similar fashion and have their own abilities to amp up the difficulty, like copying your word, skipping your turn, or reducing the round time. You’ve also got abilities of your own including the power to wear clothes that boost your stats, use potions and scrolls, and use skills of your own. Your skills are based on your class, either wizard or warrior. Warriors play pretty simply but effectively, they’ll brute force their way through the game. Wizards on the other hand are more difficult but have more potential and can do bizzarre things — like wizards do.
There’s so much to do beside the main quest. After you defeat Lord Nightmare you unlock Endless mode and get to face new and unique monsters. There’s also a secret underground fighting ring hidden somewhere in the game and it’s filled with a series of optional fights that confer powerful equipment and skills. Happy hunting.
If you’re really hardcore there are a few secret endings that are really difficult to unlock. No spoilers but reaching them will test yours skills.
Every word has a taunt based on its word type and it’s meaning. Fiery words, for example, get special dialogue and some words get totally unique taunts . So you might find a little joke if you experiment with your word choice.
There is a song for the main map and a few songs for combat. Ope, wait, there’s a song for the intro menu too. And the main menu music is the only music I can really tolerate. It’s all fine but it gets on my nerves real quickly.
I had to brute force some of the puzzles, attempting them again and again until there was a favorable set of starting circumstances. What really kills me is that only a few of these are mandatory and that those were the ones I got stuck on the most.
The crafting system seemed really interesting. I was stoked to discover all of these recipes and make some incredibly awesome stuff but I found it overall confusing. It took me a while to realize that one things could get crafted into another, as in, you don’t have to craft two things together. You can instead put one thing in the menu alter it to another craftable. The things I DID create weren’t stellar or even very useful for my strategies.
If you like Scrabble or other word games then I think an $11 price tag is more than fair. If you’re not a big fan of word games then you’re probably not gonna like this one. It’s well made, humorous, and beautifully priced so if you want some puzzles in your Boggle then pick up a copy.
If you were totally sold on this game then pick up a copy here. http://www.wordrealms.com/
Next Week: Seven Kingdoms II: The Fryhtan Wars.