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Roundout by POWGI review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Lightwood Games
Developer: Lightwood Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

Roundout by POWGI really reminds me of two of my most-played games from the past year and a half: Wordscapes, a mobile title that’s essentially a mini-crossword puzzle, and Word Wheel by POWGI, a game I wrote about back in 2019. This is both a good thing and a bad thing.

It’s good because…well, because it reminds me of those two games I really like. Roundout gives you a series of letters, and you have to use them to fill in a pretty large crossword puzzle with words of three or more (and occasionally four or more, or five or more) letters. Given that a) my only (very minor) complaint about Wordscapes is that the puzzle boards are occasionally a little small, and b) my only complaint about Word Wheel is that the game insists on having one letter be included in all words, which means you’ll always find more words than the game will accept, there’s a lot to be said for the way Roundout basically resolves both of those issues. You get a pretty large crossword puzzle to fill out, and there aren’t nearly as many restrictions on what words the game accepts.

And yet, despite these improvements, I didn’t get as engrossed by Roundout as you might expect — perhaps because it hews so closely to those other games. Yes, there’s a bigger board to work with, but that’s about the only advantage it has over Wordscapes. Otherwise, that mobile game feels like it moves at a much faster pace, and it has the advantage of having a pretty generous hint system, whereas Roundout has nothing at all. While it’s nice to be challenged like that, it still means you’ll often be racking your brain to come up with that one last obscure word in order to finish a puzzle. (Mind you, that generous hint system in Wordscapes comes at the cost of either sitting through ads in the free version or paying a premium to get rid of them, so it kind of balances out.)

Of course, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t every bit as addicted to Roundout by POWGI as I am every other word and puzzle game that Lightwood has released. It may not be my new favourite game, but it’s still a solid enough word game that I’ve sunk a substantial amount of time into it already, and I’m quite sure that I’ll be sinking many, many hours more into it as I try to 100% the remaining puzzles too. If you’re the kind of person who loves thinking up word combinations to pass the time, then this is sure to be right up your alley as well.

Lightwood Games provided us with a Roundout by POWGI Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B