Pocket Pack: Words & Numbers Review
Posted by Marcel van Duyn
Five very basic games in one
We've already got more than enough Sudoku games on DSiWare, but thankfully that's not the only thing included in this collection. Pocket Pack: Words & Numbers offers a total of five different games: Sudoku, Kakuro, Anagrams, Word Guess and Word Cubes. And while it's a jack of all trades, it's a master of none.
We really don't need to explain Sudoku again, do we? This version can't compete with other DSiWare offerings by publishers such as EA and Hudson Soft, but is still pretty decent. Rather than opting for a limited amount of different, always-the-same puzzles, it offers a puzzle randomizer only. Although this practically ensure you'll never play the same puzzle twice, it also takes away a sense of accomplishment; there is no list of puzzles for you to slowly clear, and only your best times (likely all from different puzzles) will be saved.
Kakuro is fairly similar to Sudoku: it's played on the same grid and also involves putting numbers into the correct squares. Not all squares on the grid are actually used though, only specific lit-up ones, and every column or row has a number next to it, indicating what amount the numbers in said row/column must add up to. Since the rows and columns overlap, this means you'll have to take the entire puzzle into consideration if you want to solve it with no mistakes.
Anagrams is akin to Scrabble. You're given eight or more letters, from which you'll have to try and form as many different words as possible. The longer the word, the more points you get, so try and use every single letter available! Word Cubes is nearly the same, but the only difference is there are more letters, all arranged in the shape of a block. You'll have to find words made up of adjacent letters (not necessarily on one vertical or horizontal line) and then connect them, as it were.
Word Guess is the only stand-alone game, but also isn't very unique. You'll simply have to select letter by letter, hoping the initially unknown word contains one of them. As more are revealed, you'll probably begin to see what the word is, after which you can select the remaining letters with no problem. It's also the only game where mistakes actually matter. Every letter you guess that's not in the word will take away one of your remaining guesses. Yes, strangely enough Sudoku and Kakuro, the most puzzle-like of the included games, don't penalize you for errors at all – you'll be notified you made a mistake, sure, but you can continue immediately with no further negative consequences. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
Those, naturally, also happen to be the two games likeliest to warrant the purchase. Anagrams, Word Guess and Word Cubes could easily be played on a sheet of paper or any other thing you can write on (such as, perhaps, PictoChat), and we can't imagine anyone would want to shell out money for digital versions of such simple games. They're also, expectedly, the only games that offer multiplayer (six players for Anagrams, four for the others), but it's the usual affair of either using Download Play or passing the DSi around.
Topping it all off are some fairly generic, basic graphics and a poor soundtrack. The graphics aren't truly bad and are fitting for this type of game, but the music seems to have hastily been thrown together in a simple MIDI composer, with jarring transitions and very annoying instruments. The only good thing is that the music automatically fades out and into the next song – too bad all of them aren't very good!
On the whole, Words & Numbers is a fairly inoffensive collection of five very basic games. It doesn't really offer anything special, but then, you really shouldn't expect anything of the sort from a game like this. If you don't mind the simplicity, then five games for 100 DSi Points each is a pretty decent deal, but otherwise, just stay away.