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20151213
WORD PARTY (Wii U eShop)

(C) 2015 Lightwood Games

Website: www.lightwoodgames.com

Trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=R807WSWnj3Y

Players: 1-5

Release Date (DE): 2015.12.17 Price: €15.99
Release Date (UK): 2015.11.12 Price: £14.99
Release Date (US): 2015.11.12 Price: $19.99

Tested: UK PAL Version

Test your word skills in 28 minigames for up to 5 players.


After Word Search by POWGI, Lightwood Games' second title for Wii U, Word Party, is another game featuring, you already guessed it, words. It's a very casual and playful party mix featuring word action games, quiz rounds, and puzzles. It's amazing how the game recognizes almost every word you can find in a dictionary, in contrast to the underwhelming, generic mobile game audiovisuals. Also, there's nothing to be found for the core or solo gamer but plenty of fun to be had with a crowd of people.


There are just two modes: PRACTICE and PARTY. PRACTICE is the only mode you can play alone. It's pretty self-explanatory and there's nothing much to do, except from practising, though in the beginning of the game only 14 games are available. The other 14 games are locked. To unlock them one by one you have to play three (and later four) party sessions for each of them.

The party mode is for 2-5 players. The goal is to score more points than the other players in 7 randomly selected minigames. It takes around 10 minutes for one Party session. In all the minigames you can either use the Wii U GamePad touchscreen or a Wiimote to point&click on the objects on the screen. It is simple to play, easy to join with your own Miis, and every minigame is explained with pictures in a neat little manual. When every player has finished reading the instructions they press A to make the minigame start.


Here's an explanation about the games, and how much time you have for each of them.

1. Spelling Bee (20 sec.)
Swarms of bees fly by with letters attached to their stripes. Add a "B" in front of the letters to make a four-letter word. So if a bee is flying along with the words "EAT" you can click on it to make the word "BEAT" and score a point. This game is quite limited as it's always "B" and never another letter. It gets repetitive pretty fast. There are two other minigames (Go Fish and Say "R") that are very similar. Feels like the developers split up the same idea 3 times, instead of putting them all into one more complex minigame.

2. Word Search (30 sec.)
Find 12 hidden words in the grid of letters. This is the typical newspaper word search game. You get a category of words, and there's a helpful list of the words that are still missing.

3. Shooting Gallery (30 sec.)
Shoot letter targets to spell words. There are 3 rows of targets with letters on them but for the time limit new ones seem to appear too infrequently. The longer the word, the more points you get. This is one of the few games where you need two buttons to play. To be more specific you have to use the ZR button on the GamePad or the B button on the Wiimote to enter your word when it's finished. Again, there are a couple similar games in this package, but in this one, the targets you hit disappear to make room for new letters.

4. Graffiti (30 sec.)
Tag the words that fit the category shown. Look out for red herrings! In this game you see a wall full of words. Again, there's a theme and you have to click only on words that fit the theme. Wrong answers subtract points. In this game, most of the time, there are more correct words than wrong ones, so basically, if you want to cheat, just click on every word as fast as possible and be a winner. From a design perspective this one could use some balancing.

5. Crossovers (20 sec.)
It's one of those crosswords where two words are connected horizontally and vertically and one letter is missing. Tackle 6 crosswords in any order and pick the correct missing letters.

6. Whack-a-Vowel (20 sec.)
Bash the moles that hold up a sign that has a word in it with the vowel players need to find. Simply click all the words with a certain vowel on it. This is a very simple game, and it's apparent that the player on the Wii U GamePad is much faster than the others that can only use a Wiimote. As a result, you should let the worst or slowest player always use the GamePad to keep things fair. Also, this game is limited by its own name. If they used all letters instead of only A E I O U, there would be much more variety in this game.

7. Under a Spell (5 sec. x 6 rounds)
Testing your spelling in a quick-fire quiz. From four words choose the one with the correct spelling. There are four other mini-games using this design. Fortunately they're all very different from each other.

8. The Grid (30 sec.)
Spell as many words possible using adjacent letters in a 4x4 letter grid. Yes, diagonals too! It's like word search, the grid is just a lot smaller and you can go zig-zag in any direction.

9. Defining Moments (5 sec. x 6 rounds)
Test your vocabulary in a quick-fire quiz. From four words choose the one that matches the given definition. It uses the same design as Under a Spell, but this feels more like a fun little quiz game.

10. Fridge Magnets (30 sec.)
Grab the letter magnets to spell words up to 8 letters long. Longer words score more points. The gameplay is very similar to the Shooting Gallery game but no new letters appear.

11. Word Factory (30 sec.)
Build robots made of 3 pieces each with 2 letters on them to make six-letter words. Head and feet parts with different letters scroll by on conveyor belts. Click on them to add them to the static body parts. For example players have to build a "DD" robot model, so you can add "MI" as a head and "LE "as the feet to make the word "MIDDLE". Other players can pick away the parts you need, so be quick.

12. Go Fish (20 sec.)
In Spelling Bee you add a "B" in front of letters to make words, in Go Fish you add a "SH" at the end of letters to make words. It's exactly the same repetitive game just slower.

13. Flowerpots (15 sec. x 6 rounds)
There are 4 flower pots on the screen, each pot with a single letter. Flowers grow from the pots, and as each round passes new flowers sprout. In taking turns players change one letter to make a new word. "DUST" turns into "MUST" turns into "MIST" turns into "MINT" turns into "MIND" and so on. The more flowers in a pot, the more points you score.

14. Space Blaster (30 sec.)
Replace letters with spaces to leave behind a story. A block of text appears and you need to click on the Filler letters to make a sentence appear. The retro space theme  reminds of Space Invaders and visually it's probably the most pleasing game.

SPOILERS! These games are locked. You have to play Party rounds to unlock them.

15. Pinata (60 sec. x 2 rounds)
Hit the pinata to get more candy letters, then make the best word you can. A score  multiplier goes down each hit, so the earlier you can make a word using up as many letters as possible the more points you get. The letters you get are totally random, so this is very luck based.

16. Give Ps a Chance (20 sec.)
Select every "P" letter in a sentence. Work left to right, top to bottom. You can't go back. At a tiebreak the faster player wins. A nice search game, but just like Spelling Bee it's limited by the title. There could be so much more to it if it used other letters as well.

17. One Word (15 sec. x 6 rounds)
A word search grid that contains only one hidden word. The first player to find the word gets a point.

18. How Many Fs? (5 sec. x 6 rounds)
Count how many times the letter "F" appears in each sentence. This game is pretty tough as you have only 5 seconds to count the F's in a sentence and press the correct answer out of four choices. A few more seconds each round would make this actually playable.

19. Two Letter Words (10 sec. x 5 rounds)
Find the real two letter words out of the six words. Avoid the made up ones! In the first round only one answer is incorrect and there are fewer valid words each round.

20. Say "R" (20 sec.)
Add "R" in front of the letters in the mouths to make a four-letter word. It's like Spelling Bee, but now it's only mouths that open and close revealing letters instead of bees passing  by.

21. Vowel Language (20 sec.)
There are 4 three-word phrases that have their vowels missing. All three words use the same vowel and the spaces between words are in the wrong places to make it more challenging. Just click the right vowel for each of the 4 phrases, easier said than done in just 20 seconds.

22. Shush (20 sec.)
Click on books in a bookshelf whose titles contain a word beginning with a "silent" letter. As always wrong choices subtract points.

23. Word Wheel (30 sec.)
There is a wheel with 1 letter in the middle and 8 letters surrounding it. You have to always use the middle letter somewhere in your word, the other letters are optional. Longer words score more points.

24. Odd One Out (5 sec. x 6 rounds)
A quick-fire quiz about words with similar meanings. Out of 4 words, select the one that doesn't fit.

25. Word Ladder (until the last player can't create more words)
Make 3-letter words in a nice variation of Flowerpots. Take turns to replace one letter with another, but make a mistake and you're out! Also, any letter can be used only once by any player.

26. On Target (30 sec.)
You get one word after another missing the first and last letter. For example: -RAS- which you can turn into GRASS, CRASH, ERASE etc. Just click on the letters on the target. Obviously uncommon letters are in the middle of the target and give more points.

27. Mixups (30 sec.)
Use the letter tiles to spell words. It's just like Shooting Gallery and Fridge Magnets. The difference is the letters are static and are never occupied by other players.

28. Sounds Alike (5 sec. x 6 rounds)
A quick-fire quiz about words that sound the same. Choose the correct word to complete the sentence.

SPOILER END!


Word Party is a fun and educational party game designed for everyone (minus the solo player and core gamer). Unfortunately unlocking all minigames is a repetitive task. If you just play casually a few rounds now and then, it feels like it's taking forever. It took me 7 hours to unlock them all.

Once all minigames are available and you have 4 other people to play with, the game unfolds its potential and you can get some very enjoyable hours out of it. If you want to try it you can download the demo from the eShop!

SKTTRSKORE: 6/10

Written by SKTTR, 13th December 2015


Last edited by SKTTR on December 14th 2015, 10:09 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Comments

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Great review dude, thanks for publishing this review for us! I look forward to your review of Typoman as well. Wink
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Good review SKTTR! Very Happy
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Great review!
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