uWordsmith review for Wii U

Platform: Wii U
Publisher: CHUDCHUD Industries
Developer: CHUDCHUD Industries
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: No

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved word games. Some of my earliest memories involve playing Scrabble with my parents and grandparents, and it’s a genre I’m still really into today.

This is why I was oddly excited to play uWordsmith. I mean, what more could someone like me want? It’s a word-based video game! It’s not a true substitute for Scrabble, but any port in a storm and all that.

Or that’s what I thought going in. Now that I’ve actually played uWordsmith, I have to admit it doesn’t exactly live up to my (probably unreasonable) expectations.

uWordsmith 2

My disappointment stems largely from the fact there’s really not much to do here. You can look at pictures and use the letters on offer to write out what you’re seeing, or you can…I don’t know, look at blurry pictures, wait for them to clear up enough that you can tell what you’re seeing, and then use the letters on offer to write out what you’re seeing. As I said, uWordsmith is a little lacking variety.

I don’t want to be too harsh on the game. After all, it’s a download-only title that can be had for under $2. And yet…I don’t know, it seems like there should be more here than there is. There are three game modes — arcade, challenge, and mosaic — but the differences between them are pretty minimal. You can ramp up the difficulty (and considering how easy the easy levels are, you’d be wise to do so), but all that does is make the game’s minimal amount of content fly by even faster.

It’ll also expose you to the other big flaw, too: the controls kind of suck, particularly when the game gets harder. In theory, dragging letters around on the GamePad should be super easy, but the execution leaves a little to be desired. It’s surprisingly cumbersome to drag a letter from one side of the screen to the other, and considering how quickly the timer runs down on the hardest difficulty, it doesn’t make for an ideal experience.

uWordsmith 1

Of course, the iffy controls are kind of negated by the repetition. There aren’t a ton of words in uWordsmith’s vocabulary, which means that if you play the game for any length of time, you’ll quickly start to recognize the same words popping up again and again. So even if you’ll be fighting the controls, at least you won’t be getting too mentally taxed.

I’d really like to be more positive about uWordsmith, but it’s hard. By any reasonable measure, it’s a little (okay, a lot) lacking. A limited number of words, in a limited number of game modes, and not-so-great controls: that’s about as incomplete a package as you could ever find. Back to hoping for a Scrabble revival, I guess.

Grade: C-