Word Search by POWGI is a word search puzzle game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4 and Vita. Word search puzzles were brought to America on March 1st 1968 as they were designed and published by Norman E. Gibat within a free publication local to Norman, Oklahoma titled Selenby Digest before being distributed throughout schools in the area followed by teachers sharing word searches with schools throughout America. However, it is stated that a Spanish puzzle creator named Pedro Ocón de Oro actually created and published what in Spanish is referred to as Sopas de letras or otherwise known as Soup of Letters prior to Norman E. Gibat’s puzzles. Can Word Search by POWGI deliver an entertaining videogame adaptation of the traditional hidden words on paper puzzle game?
Word Search by POWGI’s gameplay is identical to that of classic puzzle books as the player must have an eagle eye to find in the region of 20 words that can be spelt horizontally, vertically, diagonally, forwards or backwards. There are 27 puzzle categories including sports, musical interlude, animal kingdom, natural world and much more besides comprising a total of 324 puzzles. For instance, the sports puzzle category has a puzzle dedicated to soccer, baseball, basketball, golf, cricket and more besides, while the animal kingdom puzzle category has a puzzle related to reptiles, penguins, sea creatures and more besides.
Word Search by POWGI supports cross-buy between the PS4 and Vita, although it unfortunately does not support cross-save, so you will not be able to continue from your previous progression on the Vita version when playing the PS4 version and vice versa. Cross-buy presents a superb amount of value as it means that you will be purchasing the PS4 and Vita versions of the game with just a single purchase.
The controls are appropriately mapped to both the Vita and DualShock 4 controller as the Vita version has an impressively accurate touch screen control scheme in which the player can tap on the letter they would prefer to begin highlighting the word from followed by swiping across the touch screen until the end of the word. However, there are other methods of successfully highlighting words on Vita and the DualShock 4 controller by moving an orange square with the d-pad or left analogue stick before pressing X to start highlighting a word, continually holding X while gradually pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad or changing the direction of the left analogue stick until the word is selected. Light bar support produces the colour of the respective player’s cursor including player 1’s DualShock 4 light bar being orange, while player 2 is light green, player 3 is purple and player 4 is pink. Meanwhile, there is no touch pad implementation, despite Vita’s alternative touch screen control scheme, alongside no vibration that could have vibrated to indicate an incorrectly selected word.
Graphically, Word Search by POWGI does what anyone experienced in word searches would expect as it focuses on the word search with bold letters highlighted in orange when a word has been found instead of any unnecessary flair, although a dog provides some fun puns and play on words styled one-liners at the end of each puzzle.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great touch screen based user interface across various menus on Vita such as the main menu, puzzle category menus, options menu and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons on Vita and DualShock 4, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick on either, rear touch pad on Vita or the touch pad on DualShock 4. Menu backgrounds are simply related to the subject matter involving finely outlined graph paper.
Sound effects include a positive ringing effect to signify that a player had successfully found and highlighted a word, while the music is light in tone. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation that could have produced the sound effect upon finding a word.
The trophy list includes 34 trophies with 2 bronze trophies, 30 silver trophies, 1 gold trophy and 1 platinum trophy, while the Vita and PS4 versions have their own individual trophy list resulting in the player earning the same trophies for two separate playthroughs between both platforms. Easier trophies include the Pup and Running bronze trophy for solving your first puzzle; the Roll Over bronze trophy for highlighting a word backwards; and the Chasing Your Tail gold trophy for replaying a puzzle and beating your best time that could be a deliberately slow time. Harder trophies include the 27 silver trophies for solving every puzzle within each of the respective puzzle categories, alongside the Sniffing Around silver trophy for finding all the diagonal words in a grid first; the Bark, Ruff, Woof silver trophy for solving a puzzle by finding the words in alphabetical order from A to Z; and the A Short Leash silver trophy for solving a puzzle by finding the words in order of the shortest to longest length. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take around 15 to 25 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are no difficulty levels, although the difficulty curve seemingly depends upon how familiar the player is with the subject matter of the hidden words. For instance, if you are not as competent with the names of animals or components of the human body in comparison to your knowledge of sports, then the sports puzzle category will be significantly easier than the animals puzzle category.
Word Search on Vita is purely single player, while the PS4 version features local multiplayer with support for up to 4 players on the same screen. Local multiplayer is a mixture of co-operative and competitive gameplay as every participating player helps to find every hidden word yet each player also aims to find the most words within a puzzle with the quantity of words found by each player clearly defined to the left of the puzzle. There are no online leaderboards which could have displayed the fastest time each player had completed every puzzle, alongside the best combined total times for each puzzle category and every puzzle.
Word Search by POWGI’s replayability originates from 324 puzzles spread throughout 27 puzzle categories, replaying puzzles to improve your personal best time and local multiplayer for up to 4 players on PS4 that will collectively keep players returning for quite some time on Vita and PS4.
- Title: Word Search by POWGI
- Developer: Lightwood Games
- Publisher: Lightwood Games
- System: PS4/PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: Yes
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1 (Vita)/1-4 (Local Multiplayer on PS4)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 154.1MB/Vita Memory Card Space Required: 156MB