Wordhunters, by relatively unknown developer Thumbfood, is a great example of a Playlink title done right. It’s also a good example of wordplay-based gameplay done right – here’s our review.
If you’ve read any of our previous Playlink reviews, you know the deal by now – Playlink makes use of people’s own smartphones or tablets, which turn into controllers by downloading the corresponding app by connecting to the local wi-fi system. It’s a great system that has the power to engage even those who don’t typically play videogames, and especially those who aren’t comfortable with gamepad controls.
Wordhunters, as the name more or less suggests, is based around wordplay. That alone makes it a great fit for mobile devices, where games like Wordfeud have enjoyed tremendous popularity and the community’s already embraced the multiplayer side of things. Wordhunters does something similar, but places the gameplay in a local multiplayer setting where the Playstation 4-connected TV is your game board and your smart device helps control the action.
Wordplay isn’t new to Playstation by the way, as we just recently reviewed two titles that were based on the POWGI (Puzzle On Word Games Inc) brand. But while we enjoyed them, we also lamented the lack of variety in game modes – all the word puzzles being of the same type. Wordhunters doesn’t make the same mistake, as it offers no less than 15 different word-based games to play, including things like ‘Alphabetty Forgetty’ and ‘Disemvowelled’ – which give you an idea both of the content and tone of the game.
While a game based on word puzzles could easily be presented in a very dry format (and still be fun, by the way), Thumbfood had made sure that Wordhunters is packed with character as well. It’s mostly just fluff, but exploring famous locations around the world with a friendly aviator called Amy definitely adds a fun vibe to the game. Wordhunters isn’t the kind of word puzzle game that you take into a quiet room and try to solve on your own – it’s meant to be played as a party game, with quick rounds.
The biggest (and really only) issue with Wordhunters is that you need a fairly balanced group of players to get the most enjoyment out of it. If skill levels vary wildly within the group, then some will get far less enjoyment out of it than others. This makes Wordhunters a little less “family friendly” than it seems at first, because if you have younger kids then you might want to just team up instead.
Having said that, Wordhunters is great fun to play and supports the ability for people to just drop in and out of the game while things are going on. It’s definitely one of the better word-based console games since Scribblenauts, and should provide plenty of fun over the holidays if you have a good group together to play with.