Whenever we see the POWGI name included in a new game release, we know what time it is – Lightwood Games has released another casual word-based puzzler. Word Wheel by POWGI is out now for the Playstation 4, Playstation Vita and Nintendo Switch. We playtested the Vita version.
As is the norm with Lightwood’s brand of POWGI puzzle titles, the concept is quite simple yet the puzzles can be quite challenging if you’re a completionist. In each of the game’s 100 levels, you’re presented with a word wheel that has nine letters – one of which is positioned in the center. Combining the letters, your task is to form as many words as possible – the only conditions being that you use the letter that is in the center and that the word is at least four letters long.
Each puzzle also has at least one nine letter word for you to find. Doing this for every level nets you a trophy after each batch of four puzzles, and it also triggers jokes that are – in true POWGI style – very often funny and clever plays on words, delivered by our familiar canine friend we see in other POWGI titles as well. With the relaxing, almost zen-like pace at which you find words, these jokes in between levels often brought a smile to my face.
Before you start a level, you’re told how many words are there to find – although unlisted words can also count as ‘bonus words’. Some puzzles house as few as twenty or so, others close to two hundred. There’s a special trophy if you unlock every word in a puzzle, but unless you’re a walking dictionary (or use an anagram solver) I doubt this is feasible for mere mortals.
The game’s visuals, audio and interface are very familiar if you’ve ever played another POWGI game by Lightwood. Controls are easy as well, although the Vita version doesn’t have the luxury of being able to play with up to four players at once. On the plus side, touch controls are supported if you prefer those – I went with the thumbstick myself.
If you enjoyed Lightwood’s previous POWGI titles, then you’ll most likely enjoy this one. The ability to just (almost) endlessly make words is addicting and a great way to spend a few minutes here and there. The POWGI titles could still use a bit more diversity in terms of puzzle types (per game), but at least this one has 100 very witty canine-delivered puns to enjoy as a reward for your nine letter words. Even the pause menu is affected – “dramatic paws”.