Hear that? That’s the sound of my bruised ego whimpering in agony. When you spend your days writing, you tend to think of yourself as pretty handy with words, and usually my vocabulary is up to snuff when it comes to things like Words With Friends, but Word Warrior is a whole different realm of fast-paced pain.
An anagram RPG, if you will, Word Warrior sets you battling wacky looking monsters with the mighty power of speedy letter rearranging and word construction. And believe me, these monsters ain’t messing around. They will chew you up and spit you out before you can spell H-E-L-P.
From the very start, each battle is intense and varied. Some levels add in extra challenges, like every word must begin with R or be only 3 letters long, but most of them just have you typing whatever you can as quickly as you can. Oh, but you should forget about crafting epic many-lettered words, because you probably won’t have time, and if you make a typo, you’re about as good as monster food.
Along the bottom is a string of 10 random letter tiles, and with these you work your wordy magic. You get a new set of letters with every word you submit, which means you have to think hard and fast every single time. The monsters, meanwhile, will be casually pummeling you into the ground at every turn. I died an embarrassing number of times in the first few levels, which was fairly shocking to me as a veteran gamer and wordsmith.
As a concept, I was very excited about Word Warrior. It’s a fantastic combination of genres, and although there’s little to no story to be found, they really tried to pack in the RPG elements with the various equipment you can pick up and special letter tiles that deal elemental damage. And the visuals are really quite charming in a cartoony way, although the soundtrack started to grate on me after awhile.
Unfortunately, Word Warrior really suffers in the difficulty department, because there are no difficulty settings to be found, and the game is really punishing for what ought to be a fun and lighthearted diversion. Part of the problem is the finicky touch controls, which make it an ordeal to tap the right tiles while under intense time pressure. But in general, the monsters start off doing a lot more damage than you can handle, and it’s a real headache trying to secure the gear you need to avoid being beaten to a twitching pulp. The developers have promised an Easy mode in the future, so for now we can only keep our fingers crossed and wait.
Currently, Word Warrior is really bursting with potential, but it needs a pretty extensive tune-up before it can be the mighty genre-bending word game it was born to be. But I have high hopes, and I’ll be keeping an eye on this one for the future.
Here is a video demo of the Word Warrior app on the iPhone
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