Word Search by POWGI Review

Have you ever been dogged down when trying to find the right word in a given situation? Well, now you can search for the right words to your heart’s content with POWGI, our favourite E-shop canine, in Word Search by POWGI, a puzzle game developed and published by Lightwood Games, which is out now on the Nintendo Switch.

Having seen previous versions released on the Wii U, 3DS and mobile platforms, this version for Nintendo’s newest console still retains many of the same features, as well as puzzles, as its previous iterations. Based on the classic puzzling-formula of finding a given word that is hidden within a mixed-up grid of random letters, this is a game that will appeal to young and old alike with its entertaining and educational values.

Boasting over three hundred different puzzles, set within twenty-seven different sub-categories, its basic premise involves finding hidden words from a set list and highlighting them in vertical, horizontal or diagonal line within a grid of random letters. Whilst some words may be relatively easier to find than others, through the eye’s natural ability to pick out words, others may present a challenge, especially for the younger player, as they can be presented with their letters in a descending order or running backwards in a diagonal fashion.

Using both the touchscreen and conventional control schemes, as well as pro-controller support, you can select the words by either sliding your finger along its trajectory, or by highlighting one of the beginning or end letters with a cursor and, by keeping your finger on the A button, drag the cursor along the length of the word to highlight the required word. It’s a simple and straightforward premise that makes the game easily accessible to anyone. Although each puzzle can be completed at your own pace, a timer records the time in which you finish each puzzle, which offers you the option to go back and try to complete its list in a quicker time. However you decide to play, Word Search by POWGI can offer a slow-paced and relaxing level of play, or a more urgent experience in trying to beat personal times.

It’s an easy to pick-up-and-play style of game that makes it perfect for the casual player, puzzle fan or a way of passing the time if taking a long journey. With its mechanic of automatically saving your progress within each puzzle, it’s a game that can be simply played at your own leisure. Although the game doesn’t offer anything new, or different, in terms of word search puzzling, it can still provide some form of entertainment for fans of the genre.

The game also boasts a multiplayer element, with options that range from local, wireless and online play which sees you working co-operatively to complete a grid or competitively to attain the highest score. Unfortunately, finding a game online was to prove a fruitless exercise but local multiplayer offered an experience that provided some good family fun; especially for those with children. This Switch version of the game can cater for up to four players, a step back from the Wii U which boasted a multiplayer element for up to five people. It’s only a minor gripe and mainly due to the hardware capabilities of the Wii U with its gamepad, however, the Switch’s ability to play with friends anywhere with the Joy-cons far outweighs this restriction.

As far as I could tell, each of the puzzles on offer within this version of the game remain the same as those that were present in its previous incarnations; if memory serves me correct. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu and I’m pretty certain that all the words, puzzles and sub-categories haven’t changed at all. Correct me if I’m wrong though. If this is the case, then it’s a shame that the developers couldn’t have incorporated a whole new set of word searches, as previous players from the series may feel a little short-changed.

Graphically, the game contains a simple and basic aesthetic. It functions its purpose suitably well, but adding a little pizazz wouldn’t have hurt the proceedings here. Again, as far as I could tell and if memory serves me right, the game also retains the same loop of music for its background sound. It does get a bit repetitive and grindy eventually, and even detracts from your concentration, however, you do have the option of turning it off if you so wish.

Overall, the game doesn’t offer anything particularly enthralling or exciting, but then that is just the nature of the word search style of puzzling. That doesn’t make it a bad game though, as it does provide a way of passing the time and can also be an enjoyable experience if you’re a fan of this type of puzzle. The inclusion of the multiplayer element adds a further enhancement to the gameplay and does make for some family entertainment or a form of keeping younger players amused if taking a long journey; especially with its mechanics being very light on battery consumption if playing in a handheld mode. Although the online capability sounds interesting, adding a further element to the gameplay, its features weren’t fully-functional at the time of writing this review; something that I won’t let impact upon its overall score. If my assumption is correct and the puzzles haven’t changed from its previous versions, then it is a shame that the developers have chosen not to include a new set of puzzles, as players of the previous games may feel hard-done by. Saying that though, my time with the game has been enjoyable, albeit in a rather limited way, and a relaxing affair. If you’re a fan of word searches, or are looking for a simple game that will entertain children, then Word Search by POWGI offers an entertaining package, just beware if you have owned previous versions of the game, as you could well be buying the same game again.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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