Review: Word Wizard 3D (3DS eShop)

Dark wizard

Word games can be fun, addictive brain teasers, but they can also be tedious, unintuitive and shallow. Word Wizard 3D unfortunately falls squarely into the latter category. Though there are plenty of game modes, and none are fundamentally broken, there's nothing in Word Wizard 3D that justifies its purchase over various alternatives that are out there; with an amateurish presentation it's ultimately not worth the download.

Word Wizard 3D offers up a ton different word games, but none are particularly clever or fun. "Pick A Letter" has players creating words on a horizontally based grid using letters chosen at random. Words can be anywhere from three to five letters, but cannot be formed vertically. Extra points are awarded if you form two words from one turn (like Rain/Rains), and there are bomb letters that take away 15 of your 40 allotted letters if it goes unused in a word for a certain amount of turns. In "Hidden Words," you are given nine words to find in a grid and have three minutes to complete as many grids as possible; essentially a word search that most people stopped doing in grade school, this mode feels like it was made for children. It didn't help that words started repeating as we played through the grids, making an already-simple game even more drab.

"Swap" Letters is an exercise in frustration. A jumbled word begins descending on the screen and the player must move the letters around to create the correct word, but it moves so fast that even quick thinkers will be frustrated. "Bubbles," meanwhile, is a mindless experience; a word is displayed on the top screen and players have to tap the bubbles with the correct letters on the bottom screen.

Hangman is self-explanatory, with nothing to distinguish it. "Wordblast" has players touching connected words on a grid to create words, with new letters popping every time a word is formed. "Wordfinder" requires the player to guess a word by selecting letters and seeing which are in the correct spot (it will turn green), which are in the word but in the wrong spot (yellow) and which aren't in the word at all (red). The most frustrating mode is "Alphadoku," a word-based twist on the popular math puzzle. Players are given a set of letters and have to place them on the grid so that each row/column/region contains each letter once. The interface is extremely clunky, with players having to touch the desired cell on the grid and choose the letter to place from a tiny pop-up.

A shoddy interface is but one of the many annoyances in Word Wizard 3D. Though the title would imply some kind of fantasy setting, the cartoonish visuals are actually more tropical, with colourful animals appearing throughout. The font used is okay when the size is large enough, but in sections like Alphadoku it's hard to tell the Ts from the Is. The entire experience feels sloppy and slapped together, and the upbeat, happy music wears thin after hearing the same tune over and over again.


The main issue with Word Wizard 3D is ultimately that none of the game modes are particularly special; these can all be found in one form or another elsewhere. The limited 3D effects add nothing to the game, and most will play a few modes for a few minutes each and not return. While there's nothing "broken" about Word Wizard 3D — though the user interface comes close to derailing what little amusement the game offers — there's little reason to buy it, either.

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