Bookworm Adventures 2

He’s a bookworm who loves to spell. She’s a fictional bird who tells stories to children. Together, they fight crime!

That’s the premise of Bookworm Adventures Volume 2, Popcap’s recent release which is, not to put too fine a point on it, almost exactly like the original Bookworm Adventures. This is not a criticism. This is a compliment.

Bookworm Adventures 2, like its predecessor, is essentially Boggle: The RPG. Your character travels through a variety of fantasy worlds encountering strange creatures (scripted by Stephen Notley of Bob the Angry Flower fame). And then you and your opponent try to spell each other to death. Spelling a word damages your enemy; the longer the word you spell, the more damage you do. If you spell long enough words, some of your letter tiles glow with special colours, which have various side effects (for example, blue tiles freeze your opponent, making him lose a turn).

One new mechanic is that of rainbow tiles. In the original game, I found I’d tend to hoard my coloured tiles, waiting for a boss monster. BA2 rewards you for using them by giving you special, more powerful tiles when you spell words with 3 or more coloured tiles. It’s a nice little change, one that encourages you to take more risks.

Another interesting new mechanic is the addition of companions. In the original game, on each level you can take up to three treasures with you. The treasures changed the rules a little bit, giving you some bonus (for example, an item that gave you a damage bonus whenever you spelled words related to metal). In BA2, you can take 2 treasures per level, and one companion. The companions help you on a regular basis. For example the first companion, Mother Goose, provides you with a healing potion every four turns.

The art and sound direction, as in the first game, are top-notch; but at this point saying a Popcap game has high production values is a bit like saying “fire is hot.”

Download the demo and give it a whirl. For anyone who likes word games (and who has a Windows box – hey, PopCap, get with the Mac action already), this will be a no-brainer decision.

Bookworm Adventures Volume 2, by PopCap games, for Windows. $19.95. The publisher graciously provided a copy of this game for review.