Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey
It turns out that the Grimm Reaper loves pizza just as much as the rest of us and sets out find some to still his hunger. Unfortunately, he entrusts his navigation to Siri which leads him on a merry chase through some caves, a forest, graveyard and even laboratory first. Along the way Grimm, the reaper, is accosted by all manner of ghosts, monsters and bunnies who don’t take kindly to his trespassing. With your aid Grimm must use his is vast vocabulary to defeat these dastardly denizens of darkness.
Described as “Scrabble with RPG elements” Letter Quest will be very familiar to fans of the Bookworm Adventures. Although very similar to the PopCap Games classics, Letter Quest really goes to town with all the RPG elements. Its whimsical story might not be all that memorable, but it certainly delivers when it comes to the gameplay.
Playing as Grimm, or Rose when you unlock her, you must face enemy creatures in turn based battles where words are your weapons. Presented with a 5X3 grid of letters, the length and complexity of the word you are able to form will determine their damage. Letters can be either copper, silver or gold depending on how common they are in words and don’t have to be touching in order to used. The damage done by your words can also be boosted by whatever items or upgrades you have bought or through using special crystal tiles that randomly appear. As the game packs a 190,000 word English dictionary you really get to flex your vocabulary. One of the features that I really liked is that the definition of the words you use are displayed, which gives the game some educational qualities as well and should be particularly useful to players whose first language is not English. Swear words and slurs have obviously been removed from the dictionary in the game, but the list of words is quite comprehensive and even contains a few neat Easter eggs that I won’t spoil here.
The enemies you attack are not just going to stand there and take your pummeling, so you’ll have to be prepared for their retaliation. In addition to doing direct damage to you they can also influence the tiles on the board. With status effects such as poison, plague, stone and spikes you’ll literally have to choose your words carefully in order to avoid damage.
The game has 40 stages, spread across five different areas, but you won’t just be completing each one once. Up to four stars can be earned per stage, but these stars work a little bit differently than in your typical “three-star” mobile title. The first star is earned by completing the stage normally, while the second is rewarded for finishing it in time-trial mode. To get the third star you have to finish the “special challenge” mode which is different for each stage and might require you to defeat enemies with a limited number of words or words of a certain length. Finally there is the ultra-tough crystal star which is only available after achieving all three the other stars and requires you to beat harder hitting monsters. You can even unlock an even harder mode after completing the game, so longevity is certainly not an issue. Some levels also has a bonus hangman style mini-game where you have to unlock a chest by guessing the correct word within a limited amount of tries.
Letter Quest features a cute visual style that certainly adds to the charm of the game. Grimm and Rose, with their large glowing eyes and cloaked appearance, are both great characters and they’ll be facing off against 30 different monster types, including a few bosses. The developers also included a nod to Lex from Bookworm adventure in the form of the worm selling you books in this game. The two lead characters have some nice animations, but the enemies and backgrounds are pretty much static. You won’t really notice this while playing as you’ll be concentrating too much on the letters. Speaking of letters, you can unlock new tile sets that change the appearance of the letters, but personally I found the default set to be the most legible. Although each enemy is given a short description there is no interaction between your character and them which is a bit of a missed opportunity. I would have liked to see some verbal sparring just to give the story and characters a bit more life.
When it comes to audio Letter Quest doesn’t have any voice acting, but it makes up for it with some nice chiptune sounding music tracks. The tunes are quite good and I definitely would have liked to hear a few more tracks considering the amount of time I spent playing the game. Bacon Bandit Games has generously included the 8 song soundtrack with the game in MP3 format along with some wallpapers and avatars. The controls work well and in addition to using a mouse you can also type out the letters using your keyboard, which offers a big advantage during the time trial levels.
While letter quest is not perfect it certainly fills the void left after the last Bookworm Adventures title was released. Casual gamers can finish all the normal levels while people who really want to test their skills can complete the extra levels and quests. According to the developers of Letter Quest the game takes about six hours to complete, but after 12 hours, 40 stages and 70 quests completed I still had 8 of the 52 possible achievements left to unlock. If this isn’t an indication of the additives and value for money offered by Letter Quest then I don’t know what is.
- OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise (including 64 bit editions) with Service Pack 2, Windows 7, or Windows 8 Classic
- Processor: 2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel Atom™ 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbook class devices
- Memory: 1024 MB RAM
- Hard Drive: 200 MB available space
- OS: Mac OS X v10.6, v10.7, v10.8, or v10.9
- Processor: Intel® Core™ Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
- Memory: 1024 MB RAM
- Hard Drive: 200 MB available space