word perfect

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2007, 12:00am

If you're fed up with playing novel but intellectually boring games and want a bigger challenge, put all your vocabulary, spelling, counting and strategy skills to the test with Ubisoft's Scrabble Interactive 2007 Edition.

Created in the United States in 1938, the Scrabble board game has been translated into 29 languages, with more than 100 million units sold worldwide. Various interactive versions have been successful, selling more than 350,000 units since 1997. This game was designed for the Nintendo DS handheld game console and developed in partnership with the French Federation of Scrabble.

The new edition features Wi-fi connection and the setup accommodates up to four players, allowing competition between friends or versus the game's artificial intelligence.

Six game modes are offered, each of which puts the grey matter immediately to work. The so-called Duplicate mode is used in clubs and official championships. In Career mode, you work your way up

from local to international matches while the Anagram mode is a race against the clock. Each player's score is recorded and their progress charted on a line graph.

Another mode is a cross between word search and a tile-shifting jigsaw puzzle. Letters are placed on a large grid randomly and players place adjacent letters vertically and horizontally to spell out words in a set amount of time. If at least one word is spelled correctly by the end of the round, a player may continue.

Graphics are simple but complemented by a new-age-type soundtrack that won't affect a player's concentration. A down side is that bonus squares are not labelled, leaving players to search their memories to recall which squares are double or triple-letter scores, or word bonuses.

Game play is fairly simple thanks to the DS touch screen and stylus, which allow players to play Scrabble just as they would on the board-game version. As a player progresses, new opponents are unlocked to offer stiffer competition.

The game is a good alternative to playing Sudoku while you're commuting.

Bonus squares are not labelled as such.

Pros: A fun mix of game modes with no need to worry about dropping tiles.

Cons: Bonus squares are not labelled as such.