We jumped onto Writer Rumble by Gamefly as soon as we managed to get our hands on it. This is simply because the thought of being able to play with another writer in a video like game sounded far too good to be true. Moreover, we are huge word game fans, which you’ve probably gathered already by now from our latest reviews of Spellwood and Spell Tower. Whilst they are both excellent games (plus other ones in the same genre too), they virtually have the same simple premise. But, what do you think happens when you throw in a fighter-like component to such conventional word games? You finish up with Writer Rumble, obviously.
In Writer Rumble, you don’t battle with weapons or your fist, but with the canny usage of language as well as wordplay. We would say that it is more of a word puzzle game than a fighting game between literary geniuses. It challenges you to create as many words as you possibly can on your tiled board so that you can overthrow your rivals online. Alternatively, you could defeat the barrage of oncoming monsters that you will encounter on your screen time and time again.
The game has the following features:
- Easy to follow – just drag your fingers across neighbouring letters to make a word
- Two diverse game modes – test your word skills in Single or Single and Multiplayer mode
- 6 talented literacy experts – choose to be a famous character like Agatha Christie and Jane Austen
- Special powers – use health, triple damage or scramble powers that will cause plenty of damage to your opponent
- Social Features – play against your friends or a random opponent online or on Facebook
- Facebook or GameCenter additions to organise competitions and judge against your scores
You have to select a given author to begin the game. Each one has his/her own specialists attacks and health bars. Your job is to create as many words as you can to diminish your rivals health, and if you use longer words you can cause a lot more damage. Because each individual writer has special attacks that are exclusive to them only, your choice of character is actually important, plus you must remember in Writer Rumble, it is much more about tallying the special attacks to match your own playing strategy over selecting an author who has a fantastic legacy.
How to play
The game contains a How to Play section that you can find inside the main menu. This guides you through the absolute basics, and if you’re an experienced word gamer, then you will probably skip this section. The additional two game mode options are Survive with Words, which is a single player option and Fight with Words – a multiplayer option.
In both modes, you can pick a writer from six contenders: Edgar (Allen Poe), The Brothers (Grimm), Agatha (Christie), Homer (the Greek poet) Jane (Austen) and Howard (Robert E.). They are all talented figures from the literature world; however, their powers do not really have much to do with the things that they have written or how famous they are as people. The developer could have quite easily have chosen six general characters with diverse powers instead. Although, we guess it is kind of cool in a way that they are giving praise to all the literary talents. Having said that, we do question why on earth would Robert E. Howard have the capacity to rejuvenate some one’s health, or even Jane Austen possess a damage multiplier? This does not make any real sense to us at the moment, although it’s no major issue.
Survive with Words mode
In the Survive with Words mode, you can select three different powers in total to utilise whilst you play the game. Some of the powers you could have in your armoury are: Health, Scramble and Triple Damage. There are six powers in total that you can select from, and the uses of all these powers are critical to being a successful word fighter. We suggest that you swap stuff around a bit so that you can discover what the best combinations are for you.
When you get going in Survive with Words, you have to battle it out against an infinite surge of freaks that appear onto your screen. In order to defend yourself against them, you must throw tiles with letters at them, which you can achieve by spelling words out on the actual grid. Again this follows the more conventional word game format, such as Scrabble, in that you have to utilise all your closest letter tiles. Plus, the total volume of damage that you end up doing is governed by the amount of points each word is worth. After you have played the game for a brief moment, all your powers will become available to you, and when you utilise them, they’ll have to be “recharged” again, which doesn’t take that long.
Your game will be over as soon as you run out of health. For us, this was a matter of seconds initially and we still need to work on it a lot more before we achieve a reasonable game time. Even though we have a fairly good vocabulary, we think it’s around ten times more difficult to think of a decent word when you are receiving so many blows from your opponents.
Fight with Words
In Fight with Words, it is simply a deadly word contest between two players in real life. There are ways of finding an adversary to fight it out with including a Friend Match (Game Center), a Quick Match (unplanned), Search Players, or a Local Match (through Bluetooth). You will be able to select from one of the six characters yet again. Nevertheless, this time, instead of choosing your own individual powers, all the writers have certain types of skills that have been adapted to their own personalities. The player who manages to get the best score out of three total matches is the winner. Winning is not easy though and things could end pretty quickly if you are fighting with a very talented wordsmith,
Each round is supposed to last around two minutes. Although we must say that you do not really get the full two minutes as there is a high chance that you might get destroyed within a matter of seconds with certain larger words as well as a damage multiplier. It would have been better if all the health bars survived for a lot longer, just so that we could get some kind of real gameplay going. It really isn’t that exciting when you lose too quickly, and neither is it any more amusing if you win too easily. Moreover, if you’ve got the ability to scramble a player’s letters, you could quite easily baffle them almost every 30 seconds, and equally if they are capable of flipping your board upside down, then they are fully capable of simply beating you.
Additional Game Info
The Game Center amalgamation with Writer Rumble goes beyond simply looking for an opponent to play against. You have a universal leader board for a single player battle and can have wins online with every single character. If you wish to enhance your GC ranking, then you will have to accomplish 15 achievements in total.
As mentioned above, you will be given three powers for attacking or defending including, scrambling your rival’s letters, tossing their board upside down, or rejuvenating your own health. In addition, you could choose to reorganise your individual board to work in your favour, or magnify your attack power too. We’ve got to warn you that the game can get very intense and demanding when these special features come into play. It gets particularly difficult when you are attempting to think about words and all of a sudden you must spell them upside down!
We have some mixed views about this game at the moment and can clearly see both the advantages and disadvantages. This might change at some point later in the future as we continue to improve?
The fact that you can’t actually utilise the same words for a second time is what makes Writer Rumble a stimulating word game. Even if you miss spell a word it can harm you, therefore, we suggest that you try not to mess up that often. We feel that it is good to finally come across a game that penalizes you for mistakes, otherwise how will you really learn, or improve?
Our main issue with the game is all to do with speed. In the beginning, the average time we managed to stay alive was around 40 seconds in each round. This was incredibly irritating for us and we felt like we were being cheated as we didn’t have enough time to think of longer words. Nonetheless, with some practice, we have noticed that we are improving slightly each time and can keep a game in action for a bit longer now.
We still feel that we are far from good at this game and need plenty more practice. The thing is we have a tendency to write slowly, and poke around for the best word to use and question entire paragraphs as we go along. No doubt, there are plenty more of you out there who do the same! Sadly, this does not work in our favour at all because it’s this type of thinking that is guaranteed to kill you in Writer Rumble.
Furthermore, there were times when we felt that there was something wrong as we failed to locate words that were longer than three or four letters on our screen. Plus, there were many occasions when the only choice of letters consisted of unusable consonants. We could think of words like abundant only to discover that we were missing one extra ‘A’, or a ‘U’, at which stage we were getting battered by flying objects. So we went for a word like ‘pie’, and guess what happened? The object continued to flutter around, therefore, our subsequent word was pies – fortunately the game does accept plurals. We would probably have to give up if it didn’t, at this stage anyway.
- The main gameplay can be very tempting, plus all the whistles and bells make it even more enticing.
- The graphics are brilliant – especially the way the six characters in the game look.
- There are some awesome sound effects that keep you hooked and give the game an appealing ritualistic feel.
- The game is simple to control — just tap and drag the letters in order to create a word, and tap onto a special power icon so that you can utilise them.
- Even though we are not great at this game – not yet anyway, we believe that it is real value for money at $0.99.
- It is a demanding and intense game that can end very quickly - within a matter of seconds. So, we believe that it is probably not the best option for a beginner. Spell Tower, Words with Friends or Spellwoood are all better options for anyone new to this genre. You can read more about some of the recommendations that we have made in our game sequel.
- Swiping letters works quite well the majority of times, although we did have some issues when trying to capture the last letter within a word. This is a small, but very noticeable issue, particularly when all your chips are down.
- The game is relatively rudimentary & very repetitive, which means that a thrill seeker is likely to get bored after they have played it several times.
- It can take a while to get connected sometimes.
On the whole, Writer Rumble is the type of word game that most fans of this genre ought to test out at least once. The graphics are gorgeous, and the sound effects are marvellous. Furthermore, the gameplay itself is incredibly challenging and amusing. It is nice to see some kind of fresh energy inserted into a timeless game for a change. Moreover, who wouldn’t want to play as one of the six superstars in literature? We mean, there’s Edgar Allen Poe in this game, come on!
We only have two more things left to say about Writer Rumble. Firstly, it certainly isn’t designed for the slow and steady amongst us, and secondly, a good vocabulary is an essential prerequisite.