Word Search by POWGI (PS4, PS Vita) Review

Lightwood Games are back with another one of their relaxing casual puzzle games for us to play and become addicted to – again! This time around you can leave your logical brain at home as we are presented with a bunch of word searches instead of the mind-puzzling logic based Fill-A-Pix or Pic-a-Pix. So, let’s take a look at Word Search by POWGI and see if I can find the words to describe this fun little casual game!

Word Search by POWGI 1

Everyone knows what a word search is…

I presume everyone here knows what a word search is, right?! If not, you’re presented with a 12×12 grid which is filled with 144 letters. Down the right-hand side of the screen is a list of words for you to find within this grid. The rules of a word search are simple; The word must be in a straight line in either of the eight directions, the word can be presented in forwards or reverse order, and words can overlap but no more than one letter per word can intersect. What I mean by that is if you had AERSGAMEATED and you were looking for both Game and Meat then you can’t use both the words in the example as the M and E from Meat are in Game. Not that this situation ever crops up – but it’s one of the rules.

Upon completion, you are shown your time of completion along with the solution so you can possibly use it as a reference for all your trophy hunting! Basically, the game is another cross-buy game which bags you both the PS4 and the PS Vita versions for a single low price. As such, the solutions are the same on both consoles so technically you could complete the PS4 version and then hop onto your PS Vita and speed through the solution, thus completing two of them at the same time. However, if you’re not looking to easily unlock two platinums then playing through both games will last you a decent length of time!

Word Search by POWGI 2

So many choices! This is the ‘Animal Kingdom’ theme.

Word Search by POWGI has a massive amount of puzzles for you to work through, 324 in fact! That’s what I love about Lightwood Games, they don’t just give us these fun puzzle games, they cram them full of content so that you’ll be playing them for a very long time. The good thing about this one as well is that the game is accessible to everyone whereas Fill-A-Pix and Pic-a-Pix may have seemed a little confusing for certain people who aren’t as logically minded as others. The other thing I love about this game is that so much care and attention has gone into both the UX and the details within the game.

First of all, let’s talk about the UX. On the PS4 everything is bright and bold with nice clear menus and text in a really simple, yet solid style. This is the same over on the PS Vita with its small screen – you can easily use the touch screen to draw the lines on the screen and read everything that you need to. There is no clutter here and the game makes perfect use of all of its avaliable space as it ensures the game is easy to use by everyone. With regards to the details, the devs could have just put together 324 random word searchers and called it a day. Instead, Word Search by POWGI consists of 27 themes each with twelve puzzles in them. For example, we have “Time to Eat’ which has puzzles such as ‘Breakfast time’, ‘All about Bacon’, ‘A bit Nutty’ and ‘Something Saucy’ with ‘Around the house’ offering us puzzles based on the ‘Kitchen’, ‘Bedtime’ and the ‘Living room’.

It may only be a small touch but it’s great that you can pick a subject you wish to look for words about. There is also a theme called ‘Interesting words’ which does actually feature quite a few interesting words surprisingly! Another thing which I thought was really cute was the actual trophy list. A lot of the trophy names are puns and to do with POWGI (which is an acronym but may be the name of the dog?), the canine mascot of the game – for example, ‘Wags to Riches’, ‘Sub-Woofer’, ‘Pet-degree’, ‘Canine to Five’ and ‘Barks and Recreation’ for completing themes such as ‘Stay in School’, Career Day’ and ‘Natural World’. Each one also has an amusing little trophy icon of the mascot too!

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Multiplayer has your controller and in-game colour matching!

So, what are the differences between the PS4 and the PS Vita versions? There is no Cross-play or Cross-save, so both versions are completely independent of one another yet the puzzles, as I mentioned before, are identical. The major differences are that the PS Vita version has full touchscreen support so you can opt to either use the analogue stick/D-pad or swipe away. As I mentioned above as well, everything is a decent size for people of any sized finger (unless you have massively fat fingers). The PS4 obviously can’t support touch screen but this version isn’t left out this time around – the PS4 supports local multiplayer!

That’s right – Word Search by POWGI has a drop-in/drop-out local multiplayer mode where everyone who is signed in receives all the trophies at the same time. If you have a few friends who are looking to boost their trophies and can’t afford to buy the game, either buy them a copy (be kind, they’ll be very thankful!) or get them to log in and play with you in order to get the trophies. I really enjoyed the multiplayer aspect as I remember doing word searches in school and having people around me pointing out things they have spotted whilst I was still looking for things – this follows the same idea. All four of you are working on the same grid of letter – as you find and highlight a word, you’ll get one point if it’s right. The winner is obviously the one who found the most words.

There are no prizes or trophies assigned to the multiplayer aspect, but it’s all a bit of fun and is a very interesting way to play Word Search by POWGI. This isn’t like Overcooked 2 co-op multiplayer where you’ll be shouting, swearing and falling out with the other players (whilst having fun), but this is more a family friendly and relaxing game. I can personally see this mode being perfect if you have younger kids who want to play together or even if you want to drop in and help someone out without having to point at the screen and describe where the word is that you’ve just seen!

Word Search by POWGI 4

When you win, you receive a joke or a pun.

Technical:
As previously mentioned, Word Search by POWGI is a very simplistic game visually as it aims to display everything you need to see without a lot of imagery or distracting events happening all over the screen – I’m looking at you Lumines! It’s easy on the eye, pleasing to look at, you won’t get fatigued by staring at it for a long time on the smaller handheld, and it’s really easy to make out and understand. One of the things I noticed the developers had done this time, which I think may be them experimenting, is the various colours of the controllers. Each player has a different colour light on the PS4 DS4 controller as they connect, a colour which is the same as their in-game colours which are displayed as they claim a word. It’s yet another small feature yet it makes a big difference when you’re playing with multiple people.

Soundwise, Word Search by POWGI has yet another happy and relaxing tune, just like in their previous games. However, I think they have taken note of people mentioning that the same repeated piece of music can lose its charm after a while. As such, Word Search by POWGI has a load of music tracks. You don’t get to pick the music, but everytime you enter a new puzzle, a new piece of music begins to play. I’m not sure how many different pieces there are but it keeps things fresh and if you don’t like the song you’re given just press ‘Options’ and turn the BGM off and on – you’ll get a new song!

Overall:
I really like Word Search by POWGI for a number of reasons. First of all the simplicity of the game really adds to the charm and playability of the game – no clutter and no off-putting visuals – it’s straight to the point and about as basic as you can be whilst also delivering a fun game with visually appealing art design. Secondly, the multiplayer aspect is a very welcome addition and works surprisingly well with full support for drop-in and out players who can jump into either play competitively or help out. Thirdly, The sheer amount of puzzles and the care that’s gone into the themes and trophies really impressed me and will keep myself and my parents (who gameshare with me) busy for a long time! Finally, I love the choices of music the game provides and the fact you can skip through them if there is one you prefer over the others.

Some may say I’m a little biased because I seem to like everything Lightwood Games are putting out but it’s just because I’m a sucker for well-done puzzle games! 

Official Trailer (Wii U but it’s the same game):

Final Conclusion:
Word Search by POWGI is yet another great casual puzzle game from Lightwood Games. Unlike their previous games, this one is easily accessible to everyone of all ages due to its fun aspect over logical thinking. The multiplayer aspect is a great addition and works really well for up to four players as they battle it out to find the most words in the same grid before their opposition. With a catalogue of 324 puzzles to work your way through, twice if you’re going for the platinum on both systems, you’ll certainly get many hours worth of enjoyment out of the title. Also, the game is cross-buy again, so both the PS4 and PS Vita versions are yours for a low price.

If you love puzzle games as much as me and you love your simple word searches then this game is perfect for you. Alternatively, if you know someone in your household who doesn’t use the console that much yet loves their puzzles, why not treat them to it as well as one of the devs other games? They are lots of fun and come absolutely crammed full of puzzles and charm.

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A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

Word Search by POWGI

£6.49
8.5

Final Score

8.5/10

The Good:

  • 324 puzzles in 27 themed categories
  • Very relaxing gameplay and music
  • Simplistic yet very easy to use art design
  • Controller lights match the players in-game colour
  • Up to four player local MP on PS4, Touch screen on PS Vita + Cross-buy for a double plat!

The Bad:

  • Very easy, gameplay wise - not much of a challenge
  • Iif you're a puzzle enthusiast you'll probably get a better challenge with one of the developers other puzzle games

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