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 Review: uWordsmith (Wii U eShop)

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Professor Clayton
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20150517
PostReview: uWordsmith (Wii U eShop)

Hope U can Spell Well


Oftentimes simple and creative ideas can grow into a largely successful franchise by taking these simple ideas and expanding on them. ChudChud Industries attempts to follow this formula by combing the common skill of spelling with reaction time in their title, uWordsmith. While the idea is sound in premise, is it able to hold up despite being a relatively small title on the eShop?

As you would expect from a budget title, uWordsmith is quick to get the players straight into the gameplay. With streamlined and perhaps a bit barren menus pointing the player towards the three game modes, all of which rely on the same basic skill set, there isn't much to do besides jump right in.


The likely first choice is Arcade Mode, which displays a random image of a person, object or animal on the TV screen. Before a timer counts down to zero, the player needs to determine exactly what it is they are looking at, and input the answer on the Gamepad. Rather than simply typing the solution in, uWordsmith has you search for each letter to the answer in a word bank (more like a letter bank) and drag each letter into place.

Dragging, dropping and identifying letters is easy and handled very well, what could have been an overwhelming mess is simply a clean gameplay element that trips you up only in ways it is intended to. On harder difficulties the letter bank will have trick letters included that aren't needed for the solution, adding an extra layer of difficulty. The key to the difficulty of uWordsmith is that it is almost immediately understandable without explanation necessary, and anyone can jump right in. Images from the TV are usually fairly intuitive, though some might seem a bit misleading in terms of asking for what is happening rather than what the object itself is.


As uWordsmith transitions into its second mode, Challenge Mode, the gameplay issues become a bit more apparent. This mode groups pictures into categories, and only shows images from these categories. With such a small title however, the number of included images and words is understandably small, and players will begin to receive repeated words often.

Eventually, repeat words will be everywhere, as there are only a few hundred images total. This severly undermines uWordsmith, and cuts the potential lifespan of the title drastically, since players can simply memorize what each image is and quickly move through them all.

In what seems to be an attempt to alleviate this issue, Mosaic Mode unlocks after a bit of playing the other two modes. In this final mode, images appear as a series of pixels which slowly come into focus. This relies on the idea that the player has seen the images before and can identify them based on prior knowledge, and this does help keep the game fresh a while longer. Due to the added constraint on time, once unlocked this mode becomes the only mode you'd want to play, and basically renders the othet two useless unless playing with others.


If you do so happen to have up to three friends lying about, you can challenge them to either Arcade or Mosaic modes to see who is the ultimate uWordsmith champion. While understandbly moving at a slow rate, one person at a time, Multiplayer also falters by allowing repeat images to appear. This means that whoever goes last probably ends up with an advantage over the others, as they can receive images that have just been up for a previous player.

The issues with uWordsmith might seem small, but they are far from insignificant. Despite a simple and addiciting game idea, this title simply needs more content to succeed. For the low price tag, players will get a fun game that is only playable for a brief period of time before a feeling of monotony sets in, a setback that could be avoided simply by adding in more words. As is, uWordsmith is a solid idea for a game, one which needed a bit more work put into it to truly allow it to shine.

5.5/10

Review Copy provided by: ChudChud Industries
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