Word Searcher (WiiWare)

Game Review

Word Searcher Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Spencer McIlvaine

Words fail to impress

Digital Leisure and Aksys seem locked in a fight to the death to see which company can release more generic, public domain games on the WiiWare service. Following up on their release of Sudoku Challenge earlier this year, which we found to be about as barebones a presentation of that game as you could get, DL now brings us ‘Word Searcher’. That’s the genre and the title, all wrapped up in one convenient package. So have they provided Wii owners with an experience superior to that offered in the local newspaper this time out?

Like Sudoku Challenge, Word Searcher is based on a game that is common in newspapers and other periodicals, as well as on websites. The game board consists of a grid filled with letters: the object is to find words hidden within the jumble of letters and circle them as you find them. Once you have found all of the words, the puzzle is complete and there is nothing more to do but lean back and feel smug.

Or you could start a new puzzle. Word Searcher for WiiWare includes 100 different puzzles each with their own unique topic. Topics include everything from ‘US Presidents’ (which, by the way, does include Obama) to ‘Anatomy’ (which, by the way, does not include any of the words you’re thinking of right now). When a puzzle is completed, your time is locked as a best time for that puzzle which you can try to beat on your next play through. However, through the magic of your Wii, the puzzle will be rearranged so that all of the words will be hidden in different places the next time you play. This means that the puzzles have some replay value.

The length of each puzzle is short. There are only fourteen words to each puzzle, with the words arranged in a list on the right side of the screen from shortest to longest. As you find each word, it will be crossed out for you to mark your progress. Your time to complete each puzzle will ordinarily be less than ten minutes, depending on your personal skill, but there are no varying difficulties, and the 100 puzzles don't get any tougher as you progerss. That said, you will no doubt have an easier time with topics that you are knowledgeable in, as it is the nature of these games that words you already know will stand out more than words you are unfamiliar with.

Controls are pointer based. Much like a mouse, the player simply clicks at either end of the word he/she has found and then drags the pointer to the other end of the word to highlight it. The letters are just small enough that errors will be fairly frequent, but the game does not punish you in any way for your mistakes, other than in the time you will waste reattempting the same task. Players will want to make sure their Wii Remote is properly calibrated as the slightest flutter of the pointer can cause frustration.

Like Sudoku Challenge, the options here are sparse. Only the option to turn off the one song that plays in an endless loop repeatedly is included, which is greatly appreciated. And like Sudoku Challenge, there is also no multiplayer either.

Worse, the aesthetics are not quite up to the standards set by Sudoku Challenge and lack a bit of the polish and sparkle of their earlier release, and while Sudoku Challenge played around with its formula just a bit with its ‘Grand Sudoku’ optional game, Digital Leisure has kept things even more basic this time and spent no time on including an optional ruleset to the basic word search game.


The final word is that no one should walk into this game expecting anything other than a barebones word search game, and that is exactly what Digital Leisure has provided here. The game offers nothing beyond scanning rows and columns for hidden words and then highlighting them. If that’s what you want, then you’ll find plenty to enjoy here despite the spartan presentation. But unless you have an unusual Wii setup, you will not be able to play it on the bus, at lunch, or in the bathroom, so for most casual word search fans, this game is still a pass.

From the web

User Comments (14)



JayArr said:

I didn't figure this would go over well on a console.

Nice word search, Spencer.



cheetahman91 said:

God, does Digital Leisure know how to make a good game? Like I said before, just go to the store and buy a wordsearch book there. Somebody just give us a word search creator already!



jhuhn said:

I knew this game would get a low score. There are only 100 puzzles to choose from, despite the words shuffled around in the grid. They should have made at least 500 puzzles to make it worth it.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Not to mention include more options to make it more robust rather than just something a bit on the bland side. I completely agree with many points raised in the review. Great job as always.

I'm sure they'll have more success as a DSiWare title but it makes me wonder if they'll decide to go for something more when they do bring it over.



LinktotheFuture said:

I would say that Crosswords DS would be a much better buy, because it has crosswords, word search and anagrams, and is only 20 bucks or less.



WaLuigi1982 said:

Glad I ended up not buying it. I stopped by Dollar Tree and got a huge book for a buck and I do not have to turn my Wii on to play it. haha



astarisborn94 said:

Digital Leasiure next game: Math.

Where you do 50 kindergarten math problems. Boring as hell and should be free. But because we don't care, you're force to fork over 1,000 Wii Points!

I'll laugh if that happens, they fail at making games.

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