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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 27, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
From PopCap Games, makers of the fun and addictive Zuma and Plants vs Zombies, comes Bookworm, another challenging puzzle game for casual players. It's a good way to work your brain as well as make the time go faster on commutes, while waiting at the doctor's office, or exercising on the treadmill.

The idea is simple. The goal is to string together tiles to form words of 3 letters or more. The longer the word, the bigger the score. A free Flash version is available on PopCap's website, but the DS version has many more features, like an Arcade Mode, Library, and 2 Players Mode. You only need 1 copy of the game to play against a friend. In the Library, you can keep track of your stats like how many words you created, secret word books, and room backgrounds you've unlocked. All together, there are 20 secret books to unlock, with 12 words each. It's very hard to get all the words, and there's no reward of any kind for completing each book, besides bonus points. You don't get any special animation, fun pictures, or unlockable secret options. Zilch.

One thing I don't like is that you have to hold the DS sideways, like a book. Very few games do this (most notably, Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword and Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!) and there's really no reason for it. The gameboard could simply have been arranged horizontally to allow ambidextrous play. I find it less comfortable to hold the DS upright, and it also prevents lefties from playing.

Another big design flaw is the harsh penalty system. Burning tiles will start falling with increasing frequency if you make 3 letter words. The chance of being penalized rises with each level, and by 10+, I'm getting penalized almost with 100% probability. If you don't clear them right away, they'll start burning down your column of tiles. When they reach the bottom, it's game over. It is not explained in the manual that the game penalizes you for short words. At lower levels, this is infrequent, but at higher levels (9+), this becomes a huge turn-off, as almost every 3-letter word causes a fire tile to appear, making this game unfit for younger kids with limited vocabularies. Sometimes 4-5 letter words cause fire tiles. Then it degenerates into a frustrating game of clearing the penalty letters first instead of leisurely clearing letters to make words at your own pace.

To make things worse, the letters are not weighted, so you're just as likely to get a tough letter like J, V, Qu, X, Y, or Z as you are to get a commonly used and easier to combine letter like R, S, T, L, N, E. For example, I got 3 burning V's in a row in one game. When you clear a column of letters, if you are going to be penalized, the red tile will always appear at the bottom of the new stack of falling letters. If you are stuck, you can scramble the board an unlimited number of times, but this penalizes you by also dropping burning tiles. By level 10, I'm getting 4 burning tiles with each scramble. At higher levels, I got 6 or 7 burning tiles. If you need to scramble the board, that means you are stuck with bad letters that you can't combine. But scrambling causes you to be put in an even worse situation. A scramble is seldom ever helpful. It doesn't simply rearrange all the existing letters on the board. It shuffles all the tiles randomly into new letters. Secondly, it is counted as a turn, so any burning letters already on the board will burn down 1 block after the scramble. I find this sadistic and not fun at all. Players should not be punished for playing. A better system would have been to give you a finite number of scrambles (like 3), which you can use at any time without penalty, then let you earn more as you hit score milestones (say, every 20,000 points).

Unlike the online version, there's no way to tell how much the letters are worth. The web version has dots under the letters to indicate their worth (1 to 3 dots). The DS version only shows you the points after you create a word.

Lastly is the strange dictionary where words like "Luo (an African tribe), haka (traditional Maori dance), loa (Haitian voodoo spirits), lek and som (unit of money in Albania and Kyrgyzstan, respectively) are accepted, but words like "India", "Rome", "dork", and "dong" (Vietnamese currency unit) and not. "Moo" (cow sound) is accepted, but "poof" and "Saturn" are not. With certain words, a definition pops up, but I am at a loss to explain how these words were chosen. Usually, these are very obscure 3-4 letter words, like "qua", international monetary units, or little-known animals, and names of esoteric native peoples. "Vat" is defined as a tax (value added tax) instead of the more common meaning of "container" (like "a vat of chocolate"). No definition is given for longer words.

Verdict: it's fun for a little while, but gameplay gets very repetitive. The overly-punishing penalty system really drags down my rating, and makes this game too difficult for younger players. At higher levels, it's no longer very much fun due to the frequency of the fire tiles and lack of a rich reward system. The music is also monotonous and somewhat irritating. It's very low-fi sounding and one of the percussion instruments just sounds like static. Overall, it's fun for maybe 30 minutes at a time only.
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on December 12, 2009
I love Bookworm online, as well as the deluxe version for PC and Mac, so I was very excited to try it on my DS, since I can take it anywhere. I am thrilled with it! Everything you love about Bookworm is here, along with a few extra fun things.

Create words from the adjacent tiles to clear them from the board and earn points and books to put on shelves in your library. As you earn books and fill the shelves, you fill up and complete rooms in your library. Each room has a different theme and you get a little bonus when each is finished. As you complete more rooms, your library expands. You can visit the rooms on your map and see what you have accomplished!

My favorite new and challenging feature is collecting books and words. There are twenty books, each containing twelve words. When you create a word in one of the books, the book is unlocked and you can see the rest of the words needed to complete the book. For example, I unlocked the book "Insects" by making the word "ant". To complete the book I need to create "bee, wasp, roach, ladybug", etc. This is not as easy as it seems!! There are many fun collections to complete, and while I haven't finished a book yet, I imagine there will be a fun bonus when I do! Books are easily accessible from the main screen so you can check to see which books still needs words, and what words are needed.

My only teeny tiny complaint with this game is barely a blip on the radar, however I'm just a slight bit annoyed that when clearing tiles an extra tap is required after the word is finished. On the computer version, holding the mouse button while making words, and then just releasing it will clear the word. While holding the stylus to make the word on the DS, it has to be lifted and then tapped at the end of the word. Very picky, but it is what it is.

There is not a left-handed option on this game that I can find. That seems an obvious necessity, but for some reason was not included in this version.

Overall this game is fantastic, I am completely addicted!!
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VINE VOICEon January 17, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Thought this would be something educational for our five year old grandson. He is a DS lover and most of the games he has are age appropriate for him. When this arrived and I read the cover etc. I was convinced this should be for older children who are further along on the learning curve. The previous reviews left me feeling a little "iffy" as apparently some kids take to this and others not so well. When he first started playing, I think he was getting a little frustrated and was concerned that it was a waste of money. I spent just a small amount time with him hoping to instill a bit of confidence. Was not much longer and he was off and on his own, having a lot of fun. Fun while being challenged and learning at the same just seems to make this a great item for kids. I know all kids will not find this at the same action fun level as other games and possibly frustrating. Spending the time with him at the very beginning, I think, made this a very worthwhile and fun experience. Hoping you will find this as rewarding as I.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon December 29, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
..and come out an hour later. How do I know when I really like a game? I sit down to play for 5-10 minutes and 60-90 minutes pass before I realize how long I've been at it. Bookworm is one of those games!

I wasn't familiar with the online version of this game, but I do like word games so it was an easy choice to get this one. I started playing it the day it arrived and it's a great game. So far I've stuck to playing the "Classic" version. It consists of a board filled with letters that you make words out of by connecting the tiles. Each time you make a word the letters disappear and you begin to fill up your bookshelves. As you advance to different levels, "fire" and "bonus" tiles will appear. The goal is not to let any of the "fire" tiles reach the bottom and burn your library up. (Which results in game over) Currently I'm at 30% finished and I've probably played 4-5 hours now, but there are still several other levels/versions to play so I'm not at all concerned that it's too easy of a game to finish.

I have had my Nintendo DS Lite for just about 9 months now and out of the 30 games I have this one ranks up there with my favorites: The Quest Trio and Touchmaster. Both are puzzle/strategy games that don't require much more than basic game skills to enjoy. It seems that this game is probably going to be popular with an "older" crowd and yes at 33 years old I'll happily put myself into that group.
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on December 31, 2013
Pros: If you've played bookworm before it's very similar. The DS has to be held sideways (on the DS lite) the left screen gives you the bonus words etc... while the right screen is for you to create the words. Easy lay out on the eyes. If you like games like Words with Friends or Scrabble you will enjoy bookworm. Allows you to build your skills. When you create certain words you get new books in your library. This can be fun as you try to find other words in those books to keep building that book up etc...

Cons: Sometimes it puts the word in before I am done linking the rest of the letters. Example: See instead of Seen I noticed if you keep the stylus on the screen after clicking the first letter and then linking the letters it goes much better but if you pick it up & you made a word already it will take it. Drives me a bit nuts. Other times you have to hit Enter for it to take the word. Maybe it is just me & how I use it but it's one of those annoying things as you could of made a bigger word.
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on July 20, 2013
Bought this for my grandson birthday I was sure he was going to love it. I have this on my IPhone and IPad and when he visits that's the first thing he wants to play. When I purchased it I thought it would come after his birthday but I was wrong it came three days before. Excellent delivery.
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VINE VOICEon January 11, 2011
For quite some time now I have been caught in the middle of a "war" between my grandkids and my "kids" (now all grown up and raising kids of their own). The grandkids love fun, adventure, computer games, almost anything Nintendo and of course the DSi(s). On the other hand their parents are constantly giving me flak about the grandkids playing too many games, not learning anything, etc. So I bought this and several other educational games as a way to satisfy both sides. We are very satisfied with the game and we have had it over a year. The grandkids are doing great in school and I believe buying them games like this has helped. The product description is accurate. That seems to be the trick with my 7 grandkids; make learning fun and some type of adventure and they will soak up knowledge like a sponge. Otherwise learning is boring to them and they quickly lose interest. Very pleased. 1st Grade granddaughter by the way is reading at a 2nd-3rd Grade level.
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on July 30, 2013
I bought this for my 7 year old daughter for her Birthday and she loves it. Although it challenges her because you have to find so many word in a certain amount of time she losses interest but, I am always up for giving her challenges
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VINE VOICEon August 20, 2014
I played the game and loved it. Now, my guy friend has the game and plays everyday, and I mean everyday, for the last 4-6 years! He's wearing out the Nintendo DS, but still can't stop playing! Watch out, this is one addictive game.
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on August 18, 2014
Addictive. I took this on vacation and it was great way to spend some down time. Hours and hours of enjoyment. As for replay value, I created a second character and kept playing. Wish there were more games like this.
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