Just a Phrase by POWGI is Lightwood Games’ latest word-based puzzle game. It’s out for the Nintendo Switch as well as the Playstation PS4 and Playstation Vita – those last two being part of a cross-buy package. Here’s our review of the Vita version.
Lightwood’s “POWGI” games have become synonymous with a few elements that can be found in all of the games that bear the title. They use letter/word-based play in puzzle form, and they’re always filled with clever puns that often bring a smile to the player’s face in between the 100+ puzzles these games have.
The latest one, Just a Phrase, is a take on the one of the most iconic word games of all time – hangman. Using the face buttons to select one of four letters each time, you have to guess the phrase that’s been hidden from you. You get all the spots where letters go as well as the spaces in between them though, so it’s not a blind guess.
But where a lot of Lightwood’s games have our familiar canine friend delivering puns as the end of each level, the puns are actually tucked away inside the levels themselves this time. Each phrase in the game has one word that was deliberately spelled wrong – or rather spelled correctly, but not as the right word in the context. As a result, you might run into a “hostel takeover” or see a phrase like “one day my prints will come” – all making clever use of what is technically called a homophone – a word that sounds the same despite being spelled differently.
While the solutions are fun, the actual game element is a little lacking. Despite being based on hangman, there is no penalty for guessing the wrong letter, and without being limited to a certain number of wrong guesses it’s hard to feel too invested in your guesswork. The ‘puzzles’ also range from easy to hard, but the distinction feels a tad arbitrary now that the stakes are so low (though I’m sure the game would appreciate ‘low steaks’ a ‘hole lot’ better).
Just a Phrase isn’t the most gripping of Lightwood’s titles so if you’re looking for a challenge I’d look elsewhere. If you’re looking to grab a few trophies, however, then this is easily the quickest platinum trophy in the POWGI range.