The Nintendo DS and its digital download service, DSiWare, is home to a vast selection of puzzle, brain training and educational type games, and Coder Child has now decided to get a taste of this genre in a simple little title called 3, 2, 1... WordsUp!, published by EnjoyUp! Games again, as was the case with the developer's enjoyable Bugs 'N' Balls. Cubed3 provides the run down on the game, recently released and available through the DSi and 3DS online stores.
The aim of the game in 3, 2, 1…WordsUp! is to create as many words as possible using a set amount of random letters in a time limit. There are two main modes of play: Classic gives the player two minutes to create as many words as they can, with each word made adding extra time to keep going, whilst Blitz mode is three minutes long, where the letters for the player to play with are switched to new ones after thirty seconds.
In Classic, after piecing together five or more words, it is possible to then bring in a new set of letters if the player cannot find any more words in the current selection, or give them a quick shuffle to rearrange them. Reshuffling the order of the letters can be done as many times as needed, sometimes making it easier to spot new words. The top screen provides a list of all discovered words so far, as well as hints for those not yet found by showing one letter for each one -- a very handy feature.
As mentioned, longer words increase the seconds to spend more time playing, as well as rack up points to achieve high scores. Blitz mode is a bit more of a frantic affair as the player tries to input as many words as they can from the assigned letters before they change, and the clock won't gain any bonus time. High scores for each mode are added to top 10 leader boards, which makes the game great for sharing with family and friends, although sadly there isn't a leader board for each language. Perhaps another downer is that the game doesn't reveal the words the player did not unravel at the end of the round.
There are an impressive six different languages to play in, all with tens of thousands of words that can be discovered. These include English, Spanish, Italian, German, French and Portuguese. Undeniably, this makes 3, 2, 1…WordsUp! the perfect type of companion to those who are studying any one of these languages, as well as for those already fluent in one to test their brain with.
The game is played using the stylus on the touch screen, with everything being extremely responsive and smooth. Switching in new letters, shuffling them, and viewing more unsolved words on the screen above are done by tapping the respective buttons. There is a calming nature in the game thanks to its presentation, with relaxing music and tweeting birds during gameplay, as well as the image of a lovely garden in the background. It's simple, but never over the top.
Tapping each letter to create words is all very responsive and comfortable, making it easy for people of all ages to play.
The simple, clear and tidy interface complements the title's nature nicely. Extra backgrounds might have been an option, but not a problem.
Calm, easing music that doesn't ever get repetitive, something that is commendable for a game with only one tune in its soundtrack. Again, some choice would have been welcome.
For £1.80 this is great value for money if you're looking for something to test the old grey matter in the small doses each day.
3, 2, 1... WordsUp! is ideal for those looking for a little puzzler to test the brain during those short periods of boredom we all find ourselves experiencing daily. With each round lasting just a few minutes, it is the perfect companion to pass the time whilst at the same time refreshing the brain. For foreign language learners it is also a great way to self test, and a puzzler for people of all ages that is worthy of its price.