Review: Scrabble Slam! (DSiWare)

More of a slap, really

Scrabble Slam! is a different take on word puzzles for DSiWare. Instead of searching out pre-determined ones or collecting letters to spell elaborate words for maximum pointage, Slam! gives you a hand of cards with letters, puts four starter cards on the table and yells "go!" The goal is to play one of your cards on top of the table cards as a replacement to spell a new word; e.g. from "CANE," to "SANE," to "SAND," and so forth. There are no turns to take, instead opening it up to whoever can spell a new word the fastest. Unlike regular Scrabble, where words are worth a varying amount, each successful placement nets you 10 points. Each card has two letters on it, and the game ends when either someone runs out of cards or nobody is able to make any more moves.

The fast-paced nature makes it the Hungry Hungry Hippos of word games, which is both a good and a bad thing. If you're not in the mood for a full-length game of regular Scrabble then it's a nice quick-hit alternative. And with the right crowd, Slam! can be really frenetic and competitive, with many expletives yelled in good fun. But the depth isn't really there when compared to its big brother and its popcorn nature probably won't keep you involved for longer periods of time. Multiplayer Scrabble is always a good time, and up to four people with their own copies can go head-to-head-to-head-to-head.

It also seems kind of unnecessary as an individual download, feeling more like a bonus mode to accompany regular Scrabble than a whole new game. It would've been nice to have it as cheaper DLC for the previously released Scrabble Classic. Compared to the retail DS release, which includes Classic, Speed and Slam! playable in single-cart multiplayer, the value proposition dwindles somewhat for those interested in playing against their friends. If all you want to do is play Slam! by yourself then this issue is not that big a deal, but it's something to keep in mind if you'd like to play multiplayer at all.

Conclusion

Scrabble Slam! is great for when you want to spell and yell at your friends for ruining your chance to play the word "boob," but its shallow nature might keep you from indulging for too long. It's a neat alternative to other DSiWare word games and worth checking out if you want something different, just don't expect to stick around for very long.