Game Review: Words For Evil

A friend just gave me this yesterday, and I’ve been playing it a lot already. You can get Words For Evil on sale from Steam (2.09 euro, not sure of US price) until December 18th.

This game is not perfect, but it is definitely fun and at the price, it’s worth playing if you enjoy anagram-type puzzles at all.

Pros:
+Gorgeous visuals
+Excellent sound
+Gameplay mechanics work well and are quite well balanced
+The randomization of the levels is well done
+The characters are persistent, and retain their experience, stats, and upgrades from playthrough to playthrough

To use your character’s abilities and deal damage, you must use the colored tiles on the board when you spell a word. Each member of your party has their own color. Using more than one tile of the same color in a single word causes your characters to use more powerful abilities. While you’re hunting for words, the opponent is attacking you, slowly wearing down your health. You move from place to place in a neverending randomly generated linear landscape. Most locations will contain a monster to fight, but now and then you’ll come across blacksmiths where you can upgrade your stats with weapons and armor, potion shops where you can buy up to three potions (healing, and various types of defense and offense), chests which you open by solving an anagram, traps which you disable by trying to use all the letters in a grid to spell words, and healing fountains where your characters are fully healed and level up their abilities. Eventually, you find the location that unlocks the next level, and you can choose to continue where you are or move on.

Cons:
-Mouse controls can be a little glitchy from time to time (though keyboard controls are also available)
-Gameplay can get a little repetitive, as with any word-based game
-There is no way to view your characters’ equipment upgrades, and it’s unclear whether they are using only the latest weapon/armor, or if the effects are cumulative; the interface could use some more transparency and better explanation
-The gameplay is so fast-paced that you never have time to look up at your characters and actually watch the battles. It’s just a constant hunt for the next word. The action happening above the word box seems to be primarily for the benefit of someone watching you play the game. Would be nice if the speed were tweaked so that the action paused when you spelled a word, long enough for you to see the result.

I’ve found the pros to vastly outweigh the cons, and I’ve enjoyed all my time spent on the game. I do hope that the developer will eventually tweak it a bit to resolve some of the issues, but even if they don’t, I don’t regret having it.

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