Dungeon Scroll tests the power of your words on monsters

Posted: August 5, 2009 in Puzzle

Word games are as abundant as the words that make up these games, and often it can be tough to choose the right ones. Of course there are the classics that we grew up with, but sometimes you want a little variety. In that case, meet Dungeon Scroll, a fantasy medieval-themed word game that incorporates a touch of RPG, a dash of creativity, and a pot full of entertaining play. Never have words been more powerful in destroying creatures, and I’m not talking about the press either. Dungeon Scroll brings a different twist to the word game category that should appeal to word fans and non-fans.

Dungeon Scrolls takes you through a journey of dungeons—25 to be exact—where creatures of all kinds live from wolves and snakes to dragons and gargoyles. Each of these creatures has a different level of power and strength which you soon find out. The game offers three levels of difficulty—easy, normal and expert. I would suggest starting at the normal level of difficulty to see if you can handle the intense wordplay which gradually ratchets up. Expert level is significantly more difficult because of the increased strength of creatures and the need for longer words.

The rules are simple: as in Scrabble, a random group of letter tiles are provided from which to spell words. Simple right, until the game starts throwing monsters you. Both you and the monster have health bars. For every legitimate word spelled, it inflicts damage to the creature. Of course, the longer you take to spell a word, the more damage the creature can inflict on you. The length of the word inflicts varying degrees of damage and the longer it is, the more damage inflicted. As you progress through the levels, it will take a consistent barrage words both long and short to wipe out a monster.

One thing to keep in mind is that each monster also owns a treasure which is usually bonus letters. These bonus letters more often than not are extremely useful and can increase your creature-killing word power in terms of damage inflicted. In addition to bonus letters, damage bonus tiles are provided, and two power up tiles are available: the Oracle and the Heal Potion. The Oracle will create the longest word possible from your available letter tiles, and I’m amazed at some of the words that came from what looked like a bunch of gobbledygook letters. The Heal Potion will boost your health. Both the special letters and the power up tiles should be used strategically because you never know what powerful creature is lurking.

As you go through the dungeons, the creatures become more difficult to beat, and you’ll need to defeat several of them in each dungeon before proceeding to the next. This is where those Oracle and Heal Potion tiles come in handy and thankfully they carry over from dungeon to dungeon. Periodically, you will also unlock a page from the Book of Lore which provides an option between two powers such as additional damage that you can inflict or getting better tiles for example. The gameplay itself can be frantic and will test your ability to quickly come up with and spell words. While you can move and drag tiles around, you definitely don’t want to waste too much time second guessing yourself or simply guessing at what is a word because the creatures can be relentless. You can also shuffle the tiles by shaking your device, which is a trend I see in many other games that I simply don’t care for…the shaking I mean.

Early on, it will be relatively easy to form a series of short words to defeat a creature, but that strategy won’t work the deeper you get into the game. For example, one of the first challenges you’ll face is with the mighty turtle where only four-letter words can damage his shell. Yeah, I’m serious, and the game keeps track of words already used in that level so no duplicates. Also, there are some secret words that I came across that create special effects, but I’ll leave that for you to experience on your own.

As you progress, a map charts your progress, and there is a nice soundtrack to accompany gameplay. One of things that is lacking is the graphics which aren’t anything special, but I do keep in mind that this is a word game that is creative enough without overdone visuals.

Dungeon Scrolls is a creatively designed game that almost makes you forget this is a word game. It delivers a fun yet challenging experience and plenty of little surprises and incentives to keep you playing. And, if you don’t like word games, this one may actually convert you.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (recommended for word freaks and puzzlers; RPG elements are basic but add a different take to a fun game; visuals are decent, but it’s the wordplay that will draw you)

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