Game Title: Word Search by POWGI
Developer: Lightwood Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 5-7 hours
Download: 97.5 MB
Sometimes when you play as many different kinds of big types of video games, you want a break with something simple and basic. Past replaying Doom while I watch the TFS Plays for the game and reviewing games like Infernium, Atelier Lydie & Suelle, and Attack on Titan, it’s nice to just sit down and do a nice little paper puzzle like a Crossword or a Word Search.
The great thing about these basic games is how casual they are, and the fact that the Switch just got a lot of Word Search content with the recent release of such a game on the eShop.
Having been released on Nintendo platforms before, like the 3DS and Wii U, here is my review of Word Search by POWGI for the Nintendo Switch!
Word Search by POWGI is a very simple game. In essence, it is a collection of Word Search puzzles, like one of those big books of Word Searches you can buy in the magazine section of a grocery store, but with more puzzles than a book offers and in the form of a video game with built-in Multiplayer Mechanics.
The basics of a Word Search puzzle is simple. You have a huge grid of scrambled letters and a list of words that are hidden inside said grid. You have to find and circle (or highlight) each word until you’ve found them all and complete the puzzle.
When I started this review, my goals were to test the capabilities of the different features of the game and its amount of content versus going to a store and buying a book full of word searches to do.
As far as Game Modes, you have tons of Word Searches, divided by categories, to conquer, as well as a built-in Multiplayer Co-Op feature, where you and up to 3 others can work on solving the puzzle together with different controllers, or online over the Internet. The Multiplayer feature is implemented really well, since local co-op can be established mid-puzzle rather than having to start it over when you have a friend that wants to help you.
There is no real competitiveness to this, though. It’s more or less grabbing a friend to help you solve the puzzle vs speed-running against them. It’s very classic and mimicks the old situations where a family member is working on a puzzle and grabs you to help them with something they can’t find.
Content, though, is the nicest thing about the game. For $7.99, you get 320 puzzles to solve. Since I work at a grocery store, I went out and found the standard Word Search book you can buy so I could compare, which housed 160 puzzles for $4.99.
So, if you wanted to do a Word Search and were debating between an actual book and this game, here is what you would get, judging off of those two price models.
320 Puzzles (Nintendo Switch Game) – $7.99
256 Puzzles (Word Search Book) – $7.99
I calculated this by the price of 2 160-puzzle books and figuring out how many you would get for your 8 dollars. In this way, the game gets you over 60 more puzzles than a book would get you, plus the ability to connect and do co-op online instead of hunting down a friend willing to help you with the puzzles.
This also translates into the game’s length. Word Searches can be easy, but can also be difficult. Judging off of the few dozen puzzles I’ve played in the game, my average completion time was around 5 minutes. Given that there are 320 puzzles to work, that’d give you around 26-27 hours of puzzles to do for a measly 8 bucks.
Controlling the game is really nice, because you are offered both physical controlls when playing in Docked Mode, and touchscreen controls when you go into handheld mode.
As far as the actual control scheme goes, you move around in the menu or the grid with the Arrow Buttons or either Analog Stick, and can highlight words by holding down the A button. Of course, if you use touch controls, you can tap and slide your finger to do this.
There is only one thing to nitpick here, and that is the game’s tendency to not recognize your controller right away, upon booting up. There have been several instances, where I would have either the Joy-Cons or the Pro Controller hooked up and I would get no input outside of touch controls, making me go back to Settings, re-pair the controller, and re-enter the game to use the button controls.
This has also happened in Handheld Mode, so I’m fairly certain it isn’t just a Wireless Controller thing.
There’s not much to be said about visuals and graphics. All of the puzzles are very clear and there is calming music as you play, so you aren’t just solving puzzles in silence.
Performance is pretty much flawless as well. I don’t know how you could get frame drops in a game like this, but I’m just going to note that you don’t get any for the sake of consistency.
Given how this game looks, you don’t need me to tell you that this game has great Battery Life. But, here are my times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 48 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 13 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 30 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 54 minutes
So, yeah. 5-7 hours of Word Searches. That’s quite a bit.
In conclusion, Word Search by POWGI is a fun little puzzler for those times when you want to just casually solve a puzzle without too much thinking, be it by yourself or with a friend. With a lot more bang for your buck than typical word search books, plus the ability to do seamless couch co-op, there's almost nothing bad about this game if you enjoy Word Searches.