When it comes to searching for words, Boggle has been the go-to board game for decades. This video game iteration incorporates some nifty new wrinkles, but is that enough to make it worth rolling the dice on?
If you've never played Boggle then let me explain the basics. All you do is find as many words as you can in a four-by-four grid of randomly assigned letters within the allotted time. That was easy. Anyway, this simple formula makes for a decent board game and it translates well to video game form. In this version, you can play either with or against a buddy locally or take the game online where up to four players battle it out. It's a huge missed opportunity that only one local player can be online at a time, but I digress. If you prefer to just play by yourself then you have that option as well. Thankfully, the included leaderboards will give you something to strive for while you go it alone. Overall, if you want to play Boggle with a friend locally, compete online, or challenge yourself solo then this new iteration has you covered.
New to this version are a handful of optional rules that do a good job to help keep things fresh. You can implement a tile that rewards bonus points whenever you create a word using it and it changes every fifteen seconds so you better be quick! Next, the option to change the time limit from a standard countdown to one that increases for every found word may not alter the gameplay drastically, but it makes for a good reason to incorporate some added intensity. The "Word Find" rule seems useless since it basically takes the fun away by providing a list of all the words while you tick them off one at a time. One rule that's needlessly frustrating is applying an unusable tile that changes every fifteen seconds. It might make things more challenging, but the annoyance factor probably isn't worth it. Finally, you can unlock the "Minefield" rule that makes an area of tiles explode and rearrange every once in a while. This is by far the most interesting gimmick since it constantly mixes the board up thus allowing for more words to be found.
Even though the additional rules are fun to experiment with, there simply aren't enough modes to hold anyone's attention for longer than half an hour. This is especially true when you take the original Boggle game itself into consideration. Due to its repetitive nature, it doesn't stay interesting for much longer than this. If they expanded on the basic formula and made a few crazy new modes out of it then that would have added some much needed replay value. Instead, it feels like it should be part of a compilation where you'd play for a few minutes between a couple of other games. Also, playing by yourself could have benefited from more incentives such as a list of challenges because sometimes just having leaderboards isn't enough.
To unlock extra goodies, you have the ability to take advantage of both Uplay and Hasbro Game Channel. If you've previously signed up for these services then you can redeem your earned points for goodies such as new dice skins, backgrounds, frames, and the previously mentioned "Minefield" rule. Although most of these extras are superficial at best, it's still rewarding to get free stuff in the age of paid DLC. It makes me wish more game companies had systems like these.
Boggle has always been a game that's enjoyable for a short while between playing other games and this iteration is no exception. Therefore, existing fans should definitely check it out while others should think twice before downloading.
- + Classic Boggle fun for up to four online players or two local players
- + New rules help keep things fresh
- + Uplay and Hasbro Game Channel freebies
- - Limited replay value considering there aren't enough modes to stay interesting
- - It gets repetitive very quickly
- - Not enough incentives to play solo