Beyond the beginnings of Ubisoft’s The Settlers Facebook game, the company’s new cross promotion bar led to yet another title from the traditionally console-oriented game developer. The Facebook app is Classic Word Games, and as the name would suggest, it tailors itself around a much older staple of casual gaming. Though the game is no where near as ambitious as some of the other Ubisoft social games, it still comes off as quite a fun title.
Classic Word Games is broken up into five different mini-games of, obviously, the word puzzle variety. Like The Settlers strategy game, however, the app does not feel fully built out, but for what is there, it’s pretty fun and thought provoking. Moreover, while the game ideas are generally not original, the presentation is up there with a good semblance of style and flair; or at least as much as can be expected from a word game.
Of the five mini-games, only two are currently available: Hangman and Mumble. The first is fairly self-explanatory, being as it is the one of the classics among classics in word games. Players are given a handful of letters and some empty blank spaces. The objective is to figure out what the word is, based on a definition provided. Like in traditional hangman, players can guess the letters, but only so many are allowed before the person being hung is done in.
It’s a pretty interesting visual, though, as each of the six words are represented by a jail cell that contains one of your random Facebook friends (don‘t worry, they don‘t actually hang). Should you get the word right, they go free, and you get prompted with a potential post that basically states that you didn’t kill them. Sometimes, it’s very easy to save all six friends, other times, not so much. Nevertheless, as you play, points are earned based on the number of guesses used and players move up to harder difficulties.
The second available game is Mumble, which has a mechanic more common amongst Facebook word games (word scrambles). As players play, a random friend’s portrait on a chalk drawn stick figure will come hold up a letter, and the user has to spell a word with that letter. As you type in words using it, more friends, with more letters, up to four, appear. The idea is to earn as many points as possible in the allotted time, with more points scored for bigger words and using more than one of the four letters.
As users play, they are rewarded with a pretty amusing visual display as the stick figures perform any number of animations ranging from bag pipes, to flips, to performing tricks as players do well or poorly. It certainly isn’t necessary to have, but it has a nice flavor to it.
As players continue to play, they continue to unlock varying tasks (achievements) of equally amusing nature. For the most part, they consist of earning a certain number of points, or reaching a new level of rank and title in each game (also based on points). However, they are presented in a quaint scrapbook format with a few fun drawings. In an interesting choice, however, not all the pages of this achievement scrap book are available and must be unlocked. As a current example of what we’re seeing, page four will not unlock for another 24 hours. Unfortunately it’s unclear as to what purpose this has, if any.
Speaking of unknown existences, there is also an apparent currency called Marbles that are earned by playing the different games. In fact, players can even buy more with Facebook Credits. All the same, there doesn’t appear to be anything that they are used for. Likely, it is just a feature that hasn’t been fully launched yet.
As one might expect, the social element of Classic Word Games is leaderboards, as word games get people competing for high scores. Of course, though the basic social premise is a bit dull, the style in which it is presented and the incorporation of your friends directly into the game does give it a very personal, and likable flair. Furthermore, the scores reset every so often, so no single person forever dominates the leaderboards.
Overall, Classic Word Games is a very fun word game with puzzles ranging from the very easy to the very hard. Granted, it is a bit dated conceptually, but its stylistic presentation gives it a great deal of personality and takes the premise to a very different feeling level. With the only downsides being unlaunched segments of the game, it’s a title that ought to do quite well. As a matter of fact, the game is already pulling in north of 460,000 monthly active users.