Boggle, by Electronic Arts
• Nice graphics
• Limited multiplayer
• Limited game modes
[Comment: The past couple of months have been extremely hectic and busy, thus I haven't really been able to write any reviews. While things are still more busy than I would like, it looks like things are slowing down a bit, and I hope to catch up on some of the reviews. I know that there are some people who have given me promo codes and I owe a review - you have not been forgotten!]
When I was younger, my parents and I would play Boggle with each other. Of course, being eight, my score was “handicapped” to make it easier. I still never won a game. But Boggle was a fun game to play, and when I saw it in the app store, I thought I would give it a try.
The concept of Boggle is simple. There is a 4x4 grid, upon which letter cubes are randomly scattered. Your goal is to try to spell as many words (at least three letters) by connecting the cubes (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). Each cube can only be used once per word, and words of longer length are worth more points. To make it more fun, there is a three minutes time limit when looking for words. Everyone is using the same board, so you are competing with others to find creative words.
I remember playing with my parents, there were various rules like if the same word was picked by multiple people that word wouldn’t count. It really encouraged you to be creative when finding words. I don’t know if this was a modification of the rules, but it wasn’t listed as a rule in the iPhone version of the game.
In iPhone Boggle, you have a number of play modes. Quick play lets you just play a game quickly, to see how you do. This is classic mode. Advanced mode lets you set your own rules (like the time limit, swapping cubes out, etc). Sandbox mode just gives you the board, so you score however you want.
One thing I did like was the list of achievements. Unlike some games where they simply create artificial “goals”, this list actually goes through and tells you some of the cool things you have done – longest word, two three words, letters used the most, how many words you have found of each number of letters, average time to find a word, etc. While these don’t really do anything, it is sort of interesting trivia to have available. Of course, you still have the “achievements” like First 6 letters word, 30 words in a row, 10 words that are 4 letters long, etc.
Once a game is over, you can also see how stupid you are by seeing all the possible words. Let's just say that I was usually getting maybe...20% of the possible words.
You can also play with multiple people. It has the standard “pass and play” mode where you pass the iPhone to the next player. Unfortunately this is the limit of any multiplayer mode. There is a “challenge a friend” option, but this simply sends someone an email encouraging them to buy the game!!!! Very shady. With all of the multiplayer options, and given that you are supposed to be competing against someone (unlike something like Sudoku), I don’t see how they could have left off more multiplayer options. You can’t even play against computer opponents!
All in all, Boggle is a fun game, but not quite as polished as some other games by EA. If you are familiar with the game you might enjoy it, but given the utter lack of multiplayer (other than pass ‘n play), the app really shoots itself in the foot. The graphics are nice, but the game modes needs to be further develops. The price isn't bad ($1.99) but I just expected more from this game. Two and a half out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.