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WordJong - NDS - Review


Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 8.0 Great

Scrabble fans rejoice! Your salvation is finally here. While the name Wordjong will only throw you off from the time you see it in stores, buy it out of curiosity, and get it into your DS, this puzzler will keep you up into the wee hours of the night racking your tiles for big scoring words like ADDICT and INSOMNIAC – words that will describe your condition, no less. 

I pride myself with at least a mild command of big words and a deep passion for word games like Scrabble, but a degree in English will only go so far. Wordjong however will play to all skill levels, always leaving you challenged, especially in the higher difficulties towards the end. The rules are simple: out of a scattered array of tiles on a board, make the best word you can. There are bonuses like Wild Cards, Time Bombs and score multiplying Jade tiles, but ultimately vast word knowledge is your best weapon. Ok, vast might be a stretch, but two letter words won’t get you far here. To give you an example, though, of just how fun this game is, I stayed up until 3 a.m. the first night I got it, playing all the different modes…


…And modes there are. Like most puzzlers these days, there is a Daily Play mode. Word-nerds can track their daily progress via a calendar in the game, after playing a quick round. Temple Challenge makes you complete the entire puzzle, forming a word out of every last tile in order to get the points. Those collected points are then added to a cumulative total where you are given a ranking, like Bronze Rooster, which stays with you even in Wi-Fi battles. Did I mention the game has a campy Eastern theme? While most of the game can’t be considered “campy” (the Zen monastery backdrops and music are quite wonderful), the bosses that you encounter in the next mode, Battle, will almost always make you laugh. In Battle, you will play through a series of opponents (all of which are animals, with names like Boaris) and collect coins as you play, unlocking more opponents.  This mode will give you hours of solid play, honing your tile skills for the best part of Wordjong: that is, Multiplayer/Wi-Fi.

“Is that a word?”

On top of what is already a robust single-player experience, multiplayer will exponentially increase your replay value. If your friend says “Word Whattt?!,” do not fret, because you can gift him a free demo of this game via wireless download.  Get him started and you’ll soon be playing over Wordjong’s single-cartridge download play, which is a great feature for all puzzlers. If he doesn’t like Wordjong, possibly remembering a horrible Scrabble tragedy that occurred in youth, there is still no need to get your word tiles all twisted in a knot: Wi-Fi can connect you with anyone in the world. Wi-Fi is now the standard for any DS puzzle game, and anything less just won’t cut it. Simple, flash-game sensations can be converted onto DS, given a Wi-Fi mode and instantly turned into a classic. 

In other words, this is one of the best puzzle games on DS. For me, it ranks next to Planet Puzzle League as the best puzzler on DS. The simple Scrabble-esque mechanics are addictive and challenging; and hey, you’ll learn a new word every round, guaranteed.

Review Scoring Details for Wordjong

Gameplay: 7.5
Simple, tile-based mechanics lend themselves well to the touch screen.

Graphics: 8.0
There is just the right amount of Zen flavor, and it’s not too over-the-top. The style is very cohesive and complements the simplicity of this contemplative game.

Sound: 7.5
Water drops and gongs make up most of the sound effects here. The music is pleasant and never overpowers the sedate gameplay.

Difficulty: Medium
The difficulty will range from easy to hard, like any good game should. But, like Scrabble, scoring big words is deceptively difficult.

Multiplayer: 9.5
Between single-card download, local play, and Wi-Fi, it will be hard not to find a game of WordJong.

Concept: 8.0
A great conversion of the basic mechanic of Scrabble into a solid two-player experience.

Overall: 8.0
WordJong is a fantastic game that will appeal to any age group, but especially fans of Scrabble. There are no cheesy touch-screen mini-games here either; just solid gameplay. It is the perfect pick-up-and-play title for any book worms this Holiday.

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