A short review for a short game: unWorded.
“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.” - Robert Frost
unWorded is a unique puzzle game that has the player rearrange letters and punctuation into shapes that are hinted at in the stories. It’s as simple as that.
Well, maybe not that simple.
Lets back up a bit and talk about the story briefly. The main overarching story is an author who has been in a bad accident. He lies in a hospital room anxious to get home to finish his latest work. He is a very dedicated family man and feels the longer he is in the hospital the harder it will be to provide for his family.
While lying in his hospital bed his thoughts wander to the past books he has written. Each of these books form the five chapters of the game. These books are told in a poetic fashion, some better than others.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” - Robin Williams
As I said, the puzzles are a simple concept, made of letters and punctuation that players arrange into shapes. Sometimes those shapes can be a bit elusive.
In one puzzle the shape that needed to be formed was a hand grenade. Now, as a former Army member, I know what a grenade looks like. Yet, my idea of the shape does not match the puzzle creator's idea of the shape. So on that puzzle, I struggled for a while until I got it.
The game does provide a hint system. Tap the question mark in the lower right corner to highlight the relevant word in the passage that hints at the shape needed to be created. It will also turn the letters or punctuation marks that are out of place red.
I found that most of the shapes came together easily enough, though a few are harder than others. Some puzzles the frustration that arises is when you know you are close, but the pieces aren’t quite in the position enough to trigger the solution.
The art style of unWorded is very minimalistic, using the theory of “game as art” to create shapes using letters and punctuation with varying type-fonts. This simplistic style has won it numerous awards. Its “stories within a story” adds a nice touch too. As unique and pretty as it is, its frustrating puzzles and its short length undermine parts of it. Just when you get the strategy ball rolling, the game is done. Frustrations aside, I wanted more and was left hanging when the main story arch came to a definitive end.
Maybe they will do a second game. I hope they do. unWorded, a “game as art,” is worthy of all its awards and praise. As a game there is still room for improvement. I give unWorded a 3.5 out of 5
For more information see the official unWorded website.