Jul 25, 2014
What does a developer do when a game around forming words and multiplayer becomes a succes? It takes out fifty procent of that golden formula and turns it to a list of chores.
Ruzzle Adventure is a game where players need to form words on a grid full of letters. In the past, we’ve seen dozens of iterations of this concept in the form of Boggle, Wordfeud or even an earlier published version of Ruzzle. In all those games the goal is the same: make as many words as possible, to get the highest score. By making bigger words and combining tougher letters to make words with, the score multiplier raises and so does one’s score. Remember Scrabble?
In Ruzzle Adventure, that base concept remains the same as well. But to spice things up, developer MAG Interactive made up a adventure mode around the concept of forming words, changing the succesfull multiplayer formula into a singleplayer campaign. And, as one might guessed it, it’s complete with those social gaming tropes of today: Ruzzle Adventure has leaderboards, the three golden stars system and even different kinds of power-ups to challenge players even more.
But the question is: does a social word game need an singleplayer complete with power-ups? The reason games like Scrabble and Wordfued were so popular, is because one had to play it with someone else. I found myself a bit isolated while playing the game and that wasn’t a nice feeling to deal with. I missed the social interaction of laughing when I won from a friend or complementing each other when we found a word that held massive points. It makes the game so much better.
But truth be told, the challenges in Ruzzle Adventure are mostly fun to play. There are different kinds of objectives present, like completing the game as fast as possible or breaking wooden or even stone bricks. Completing the objective results in receiving one star. When the player meets a certain amount of points, it receives the second star. And when meeting the higher expectation, a third star is obtainable – but that might take some practice, especially in the beginning.
But the challenge really disappears when there is a stone letter in one of the corners of the grid. I had the letter T right there and I needed to break it to move on. I couldn’t making larger words than ‘pets’, ‘hat’ and ‘rat’ and that feels a bit underwhelming. At that point, the gamer and the game are lacking creativity – which, in my opinion, should be a corner stone of the game entirely. But these kind of assignments, because that’s how they feel, are mandatory in order to complete the game.
At the end, that’s how I feel about Ruzzle Adventure. It’s a game were players need to finish assignments based around the concept of forming words by themselves, while it is much more fun to player these game competitively with at least one more friend around – hence the game that started it all, Scrabble. Leaderboards just don’t cut it. Why MAG Interactive shoveled out the multiplayer is a riddle to me, because some of the new gameplay mechanics could work fine in multiplayer.