Feb 25, 2016
Hey, we told y’all we’d be keeping an eye on Monkey Wrench.
The game reveals itself, at its core, to be a word game. It appears and is played in portrait orientation, and makes use of sparse, deliberate coloring to create a simple play interface that is easy to cotton to visually. The main playing area is similar to a beehive of compartments with seemingly jumbled letters, and the main idea is to find words therein by tracing words out of adjacent letters
As noted, finding words is a major element, but the game manages to add a few more, such that it incorporates a feel of crossword puzzles in addition to basic word search. It is leveled in nature and comes in three modes: easy, normal and hard. Each mode tweaks the gameplay in a different way, such that playing in any almost creates a new game within the main one.
Take “easy” for instance. In the one (which is perfect as an added component to the built-in tutorial), one is given several words broken into a few categories. The words can be names, compound words or even phrases, like movie names and such. All one has to do is find the words in the grid, starting with one of the special highlighted “start” letters, while avoiding other start letters. When a word or phrase is found and correctly highlighted by gesture and tapping, the entire block disappears; the idea is to clear every cell on the board.
When one goes and selects the “normal” level of gameplay, it gets a bit harder. Now, one gets the categories of words, but instead of all the hints written out, one only gets the first letter(s) of the words/phrases plus empty spaces that let one know how many letters one needs.
Then, in “hard” mode, one gets only empty spots and categories only. Bummer.
So, as one gets a bit better, one can use guesses to help, as well as the process of elimination. One can use hints provided by the game, but these are limited (extras can be had for extra cash). It is pretty fun and surprisingly engaging.
The method of selecting words could probably be tweaked a bit to make it easier to back up a step or two, but altogether, the good definitely outweighs any perceived shortcomings.