I generally spend seven days out of the week tending crops, caring for virtual pets and delivering orders to my virtual mafia. While that's my job (and also a great way to unwind), sometimes all of that social gaming leaves my brain feeling, well, a little unused. And then, Arkadium's new Writer's Blox on Facebook steps in, delivering a clever word game designed to turn mushy brain matter back into a well-oiled thinking machine.
This word game starts by giving the player a series of blocks (or 'blox') with letters on them, and the goal is to form as many words as possible, earning the highest score possible. And while this might sound just like Scrabble, it's actually a little different. Instead of using single tiles with single letters on it, the blox can be anything from a single Scrabble-like tile to three and four tiles stuck together to form different shapes. Figuring out how all of those shapes can best work together to form words AND get the highest possible score is the real challenge.
Writer's Blox players get two free puzzles to solve every day (a 'Daily Freebie' and daily 'Big Blox;' they both automatically reset at midnight EST), and once you place all of the blox on the board, you can save your layout before clearing the board to try again for a higher score. If you don't like how you're progressing on the second, third .. 10th try, you can revert back to one of your save layout or the layout with the highest score. This is one of the more polished elements in the game, and will be one of the big reasons word junkies like me will keep coming back for more.
Other things that left a lasting impression: there's a leaderboard that shows how your score measures up to friends, which is always great, but de rigeur for most Facebook games. The game expands on this social features with a cool 'My News' area that keeps tabs on your progress while you play (in the form of newspaper headlines, see image below) and you can click any of these news bits and post them on your Facebook wall for bragging rights.
For now, that's pretty much the entire game, but it looks like more social gaming-style elements will be inserted into Writer's Blox shortly, including free gifts to send to friends, the ability to earn Writer's Bux, which can be used to buy unspecified 'bonus' items. I also like that this game is backed by Merriam-Webster, which lends a sense of authority to the entire experience.
There are still a few things I'd like to see included in Writer's Blox at some point: 1. More incentive to solve the word puzzles more than once. I'm a competitive person, but I generally don't have the amount of time it takes to solve the same word puzzle several times over unless it's going to yield a big reward. After going through the puzzle twice, I felt I deserved a little more in exchange for my time. 2. Achievements -- I'd like to see more a formalized achievement system with set goals which would give players a little more incentive to keep playing this game more than once a day.
Play Writer's Blox on Facebook now >
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