Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey
There’s nothing like a good word game to get the ol’ synapses going. “Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey” is like “Scrabble” mixed with an RPG in the sense that your profile can “level up”, allowing you to equip new items and improve your character’s base stats in order to survive tougher fights. Now I know what you’re thinking…”didn’t PopCap Games already do something similar with ‘Bookworm Adventures’?” Honestly, yes…though not to this extent. The RPG elements are a bit more detailed and involved, but not so much as to bog down the casual player to the point where they’d resent playing it. Before I go any further, I’d like to thank Mark Smith, the CTO & Co-founder of Bacon Bandit Games, for providing me with a free press copy.
The premise is simple enough: help Grimm and Rose (a couple of grim reapers) destroy monsters and other baddies by spelling words. The game itself is broken up into forty different stages, each of which becomes progressively harder as you play. Each stage has a fixed layout…that is, you’ll fight the same monsters and experience the same events when you replay a level you’ve already beaten. On the plus side, you can gain the crystals (money) you need to upgrade your character and make him/her more powerful. Each stage also has three additional variants/modes that serve to mix things up a bit. There’s a time trial, for example, as well as a challenge that forces you to defeat the stage using a maximum set number of words. There’s also an elite mode for each stage, though they are incredibly tough and give monsters unique abilities to use against you.
As fun as spelling words to inflict pain on a monster can be, I was really surprised by how in-depth the RPG elements were. Granted, we’re not talking a “Diablo III” stat screen here…but there is enough to shake a stick at and more. You’ll be able to purchase various upgrades, potions, books…even new letter tiles that change their look. Most of the purchaseable upgrades can be upgraded further to increase their potency, so there’s plenty of replay value here as you attempt to max out your profile and become the strongest grim reaper of all time. Books give you a passive ability that automatically level up with use, encouraging you to stick with a loadout that best suits your play style. I personally like the self-heal abilities as some stages feature a number of monsters and not just one.
“Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey” is extremely family-friendly and is, as a result, an easy recommend to children and parents alike. It features a dictionary that will give you the definition of the words as you play them, upping the game’s educational value a few notches. Stages don’t take all that long to finish, making it ideal for quick five to ten minute play sessions. The mini-games and purchasable consumables you’ll find in various stages are also a nice touch. A randomized stage feature would have been welcome as playing the same stages over and over again can get a bit redundant and predictable. Still, when you consider an average play time of 5+ hours and compare that to the asking price of $7.99, you’ll realize that this little gem is a great value. If you’re tired of “Bookworm Adventures” and yearned for more “oomph” with regard to its gameplay and features, then look no further as “Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey” is the game to get.
Final Verdict: 9/10