Mobile games come in all flavors these days – from complex RPGs ported from consoles, to puzzles so simple you wonder why you keep playing. Word puzzles usually fall in the latter part of the spectrum, but that doesn’t make them any less fun. Here at word-grabber.com, we’re always on the lookout for the best of the best – the word games that keep you addicted and having loads of fun. That said, there are also poor copycats out there ready to take advantage of players with ads and overpriced microtransactions. Word Weekend, unfortunately, has all the hallmarks of such a game. For more details on why Word Weekend is hardly a fun weekend on the beach, read on!
A Circle for the Letters
Word Weekend is a game where the player is presented with a series of scrambled letters arranged in a clumsy circle. The player is supposed to combine these letters to make words that fit on the board. The board is arranged in list form, with the smallest words at the top and the largest at the bottom. To help the player out, there is also a shuffle button to rearrange the letters.
There are 111 chapters, each with 20 levels. The difficulty does not change after Chapter 10 or so, as the levels are comprised of the same cycle over and over. The 20 levels are divided into three stages: easy, medium, and hard.
Watching Ads for getting Coins
Bonus words are donated to a “shell” container. Once enough are collected, the player is given a prize of in-game coins. These coins are used exclusively for hints, which provides only one letter at a time and always the first letter in a random word. Another way to earn coins is to finish quests, which are accomplished by playing the game. There are a limited number of quests, however, and the player will finish these long before the 111th chapter. The least fun way to get coins in Word Weekend, is by watching ads. They are infinite and can be watched at any time during a game.
The Graphic in Word Weekend
In the graphics department, Word Weekend could be worse. There are three main images in the entire game, each with the theme of beaches and summer drawn in a light-hearted cartoon manner. Not quite clipart, as all three images were clearly custom-designed for the game.
The first image is that of the start screen, a plain beach with a surfboard and shells scattered about. The second is the play screen itself; the letters you use are seashells scattered on a red blanket, the puzzle is a list of blanks on a wood board, the background is the same beach from the start up screen, and the icons are similarly beach-themed.
As such, I commend the developers for putting a modicum of thought into the illustrations, even if there are very few of them. The graphics could always be worse if they didn’t adapt to your phone’s resolution, or were not there at all.
Less Variety in the Audio Section
If the graphics are lackluster, the audio associated with Word Weekend has even less variety. The button presses are vaguely pleasant enough, but the music playing during the start screen and gameplay is repetitive at best. The “song” is no more than 5 seconds long and repeats on a loop. The music, just like the graphics, does not change regardless of how far you advance in the game.
Those mere five seconds are not at all creative and possesses only a vague hint of any version of South American music. The simplicity of this music begs the question of whether it might be royalty free and so basic that a child could play the music by accident on a marimba.
A Reward System is missing
The main premise of Word Weekend has been repeated over and over throughout the mobile game market, but what Word Weekend lacks is a proper reward system for the player. Unlike so many other word puzzle games, Word Weekend does not reward the player in any manner for finding a word and finishing a level. For finishing a chapter, the player is rewarded with coins but nothing else: no new theme, no new background, and not even harder levels.
This seems like poor compensation, especially when ads in Word Weekend are painfully numerous. Whether you want to or not, ads will appear mid-level regardless of your actions. In fact, they are guaranteed to show up when you switch between apps on your phone.
For anyone that likes to text and play games at the same time, this tendency for ads to pop up when you return will become extremely frustrating. What is more, some ads are not skippable – you will have to wait the full 30 seconds before you can continue your game. Due to this bonanza of ads, Word Weekend will make your phone run hot – whether you have the latest S9 or not.
Frankly, there is no excuse for Word Weekend’s design. The goal is to spam the player with ads, not provide them with a game worth playing. A game like Word Weekend should provide a reward system that keeps the player coming back and wanting to play more.
In other word games each bonus word will instantly give you the in-game currency necessary for hints – never mind the reward gained for finishing a given level, not just a chapter. Rewarding the player in this way is one of the simplest ways to keep them interested in the game and continuing to play. Players will not feel like they are being taken advantage of (too many ads), or that that game is unfair in some way (purposely obtuse or difficult to make players buy).
Disadvantages outweigh the Advantages
In fact, something as simple as a change in background with each level or chapter is a great way to treat the player’s eye to exciting illustrations or photographs. How many times have you played Wordscapes just to see what the next chapter’s background looks like? That is to say nothing of Wordscapes’ lovely animation on each level – like a live wallpaper you can interact with. But of course, Word Weekend doesn’t do any of this. The background doesn’t change, the theme doesn’t change, and the music doesn’t change. Not even the rewards change as you keep playing.
To say the disadvantages of Word Weekend outweigh the advantages is putting it lightly. The only advantage this game has to speak of, is that it is generous with coins – though for the price of way too many ads. Just about everything else is a disadvantage. Word Weekend is poorly designed, has no proper reward system, uncreative audio, and ads up the wazoo.
title and pic 1 and 2 – Screenshots from the App Word Weekender by word-grabber.com