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Wordhunters review for PS4


Platform: PS4
Publisher: thumbfood
Developer: thumbfood
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1-6
Online: No
ESRB: E

When it comes to Wordhunters, there are two things of which I’m absolutely certain:

1) I love it; and
2) it’s a bit of a failure in the ways that matter most.

I’ll take that first part first. As I’ve said many times before, I’m a diehard word puzzle nerd. If a game involves spelling in some way, I’m going to be all over it. As such, a game like Wordhunters, that boasts a whopping fifteen different types of word puzzles, is right up my alley.

In fact, it’s so fun that I can’t even pick a favourite puzzle. There’s one game, for example, that gives you three-letter word, and then asks you to (as its title implies) extend the word in either direction. There’s a variation of Boggle, where you have to create as many words as you can out of a grid of 16 letters, and a word search, where you have to find as many words on a grid as you can in a short time limit. Still another game gives you a possible word, and then you have to guess whether it’s real or fake. And there was another one where you’re given a four-letter word, where you have to substitute in another letter before passing it on to the next player, and the round ends when someone gets stumped. Oh, and there was also — well, you get my drift. As I said, fifteen games, and I really enjoyed all of them.

Given how much I loved Wordhunters, you may reasonably be wondering how I could say that it was still a failure. That, unfortunately, is answered just as easily: it only allows you to play it as a party game. And, at the risk of sounding full of myself, when you’re as into word games as I am, it’s always a challenge to find a group of people willing to play word games with someone who they know is really, really, really into them. By the end of the first round of our first game, when I found about a dozen words in the word search before any of my friends had found any, I could sense the boredom starting to emanate from my fellow players, and that feeling only grew from there.

True, the moral of that story may be that I’m a little too competitive when it comes to word games. But I think it also highlights Wordhunters’ main flaw: no substantive single player mode. Sure, you can try a puzzle or two on your phone, but that’s as far as it goes. There’s no AI-controlled bots for you to play alongside when a group of other players is hard to come by.

At the same time, though, I feel like the fact I really wanted to keep playing shows that, even with its flaws, Wordhunters is pretty fun. Less fun, of course, if you aren’t the kind of person who plays vocabulary and spelling games for fun, but if you live for a good game of Scrabble (and, better still, if you have a large group of like-minded friends), then Wordhunters will be a perfect addition to your game library.

thumbfood provided us with a Wordhunters PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B+