LifeisXbox’s Word Forward review | Do you have any games installed on your phone? Maybe a light RTS game? One of the mobile versions of various battle royale games? What about puzzle games? Those are the only ones I personally like to play on the go. A quick stress test of my neural pathways while I ride the bus or wait in line at the checkout to pass the time. The stuff like 2048 or Atomas come to mind here for me. While those served me well for years, a new challenger has stepped forward. Word Forward. It’s a strategic word puzzle game made and published by Rocketship Park. It is different from Scrabble in the sense that you aren’t trying to make the longest, most scoring word possible, rather you are trying to use all letters as efficiently as possible. It’s also not a board game, but you’ll find it on platforms such as Android, iOS, PC and Nintendo Switch where I reviewed it.
This is a short review, our usual the good, mixed and the bad was difficult because of the nature of this game. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
After that short “foreword” I suppose I better explain how Word Forward is played. At the beginning of each level, you are served a full grid 5×5 grid of letters to play around with and form words of at least 3 letters or longer. While you puzzle you get to listen to some funky yet calming EDM tunes. Sound-wise Word Forward hits that sweet spot where the background music and simple sound effects work really well in letting you concentrate without it becoming too quiet. You have to form the words by connecting letters on adjacent tiles, meaning horizontal, vertical and even diagonal connections all count. Furthermore, some tiles think this in itself isn’t hard enough, and require special conditions to be used. To this effect, some tiles will come with arrows indicating the direction you have to progress through to use them. Meaning you can take the direction the arrow points towards or any of the diagonal options in that direction. Ending on these tiles is often the easiest I found. There are also tiles that have a little “4” in the corner, meaning they can only be used if the word they’re used in is at least four letters long.
Luckily you also get some modifiers at your disposal or Word Forward’s levels would be next to impossible to clear most of the time. The first tool at your disposal is the ability to swap the place of two of the letters. To perform this essential action you start every level off with two swap tokens. Each pair swapped is a token used up. You can however gain additional tokens by forming longer words. The word “Four” would gain you one extra token. And the word “Thorax” would gain you three tokens. This means you can factor in a nice risk vs reward when you see the possibility to form a longer word.
Next up we have a couple more options to actively modify the grid. These provide a more noticeable effect but are limited to one use each for every level. Running by them left to right, you have two replacement letters. These can be used to replace any tile with that letter and depending on whether they’re vowels or consonants can really help you with some grids that are stacked heavily with the other. Moving further right, in the middle you will find the biggest game-changer in Word Forward, the “jumble”. This generates a new letter on every tile that hasn’t been used yet. This can be a really powerful move, providing you with a fresh set of letters if you’re absolutely stuck, but comes at the great risk of those letters also being useless. It’s been a great last-ditch move that has saved me quite a couple of levels. Going even further to the right you have the “change” power. This straight-up allows you to change the letter of any tile of your choosing into any other letter. Again, a very powerful move best saved until the end. I’ve also ended up using it to make some longer words like “reagent” or “loitering”. Really proud of that loitering. The word, not the act… So lastly we’ve got the power to “eliminate” one tile off the grid. perfect for when you have to clean up that last letter you couldn’t use in any words.
Now the part that adds in a lot more challenge to the game, is to use as few of these as possible. It doesn’t matter how many letters you swap as long as you have the tokens, but if you want to reach gold on a level you can use no more than 2 of these modifiers. So that means the challenge lies not only in how well your vocabulary is, but it also makes you look at the grid in a strategic way, mapping out words and swaps or what letter you might need to change from your two below. The actual feeling of accomplishment when clearing the board or making a long word with some crafty swaps is greater than you would expect.
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Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.