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 Merriam Webster's Spell Jam
I got to thinking to myself the other day, “I don’t
review enough word games”.
Strange really, considering I like playing them, and
I like to spell. I guess it’s because there just aren’t that many out there.
And the one’s that are, usually get overshadowed by the big boys of gaming- the puzzle, and match 3 games.
So in order to stand out nowadays, word games need to
be more than just challenging. They also need a really interesting story that makes the player want to play on.

Mainly an American phenomenon, the spelling bee is
serious business for the (mostly) kids who are good enough spellers to get to the big competitions.
But for the majority of those who aren't quite up to that
level, there's Merriam Webster's Spell-Jam” which is a great way for “word nerds” out there to get a taste of what it’s like to be up there at the podium with
all eyes on you.

Think a game about spelling bees could only be dry
and boring? Well think again because “Spell-Jam” is exciting spelt with a capital E!

There are three different ways to play:Practice Mode (for all you linguistic party animals out there; this is played simply to test your vocabulary. A personal best-type of thing.No points, no score…no fun.) Competition Mode (this is the one that most resembles a real competition. Play against the AI or against real family and friends.) Game Show Mode (the most fun; which looks and feels like a glitzy, futuristic,high-tech game show.)

Once you’ve picked a game mode your character will stand at a podium while two announcers take turns reading out a word to spell. After the
word is given to you, you can enter your guess by either using the mouse to click on the correct (hopefully) letters or by typing the word using the
keyboard - as you do, your character will say the letters one at a time just like in real life.

"Spell-Jam” is a nice change from the countless
Boggle-like word games out there, the person that thought this one up over at Tikgames deserves a raise. The idea seems so obvious I'm really amazed no one else thought of it sooner.

Even though there are three stages of difficulty in
each level, I found even the easiest one to be a little tricky, and it kinda assumes
that the player has good spelling skills to become with. In other words, “Spell-Jam” is best for adults
and teenagers, young children will definitely find it too hard. For example, choose the easiest level and you'll get words like “crochet”, “symbolism”, and “budgeting.

While in the Advanced level you can expect words
like “sepulchral” and “evangelize”! I don’t even know what these words mean, much less spell them! Which reminds me- let’s say you're not sure about a word before you begin typing it, you can get some help by asking the announcer to repeat the word, use the word in a sentence, give the definition of the word, or give the word's origin.

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You know now that I stop and think about it I’ve seen
them do this in real spelling bee competitions, but I just assumed they were
doing it as a stall tactic! Boy was I W-R-O-N-G.

The only pet peeve that I had with the game is that I
sometimes found it difficult to make out a word that was given to me by the announcers. For example I once lost points for misspelling the word “addition”
because I mistakenly spelled “edition” say it out loud to yourself and you will quickly see the problem. The best way to avoid this is to ask the announcer to
use the word in a sentence y’know that ol’ stall tactic!)

But in their defense I will say I played “Spell Jam” on a laptop computer which as we all know doesn’t have the greatest speakers in the world.

The graphics are okay-nothing over the top or anything (yes, I know it’s a word game…but still).

The music in “Spell Jam” is about what you'd expect
from this type of game. It’s probably best described as elevator music or but it won’t make or break this type of game anyway.
Let’s be honest here you didn’t come to play this game
seeking a cool, banging soundtrack now, do ya? Oh,
you did? What’s that? The word “jam threw you off? Well, didn’t the word “ Spell in front of it give you some sort of clue as to what it might be all about!Tsk,Tsk.

You poor thing, well all I can say is, thank
goodness I am here to guide you. So what’s the good word?
Well now, I’m glad you asked! Let me spell it out for ya.
“Spell Jam” is a simple little word game that hopefully
will not get lost amongst the masses of “puzzle” and “match 3” games that pop up on the internet everyday, every hour, heck …every minute!
That would be a real T-R-A-V-E-S-T-Y(my winning word! Woot.)

"Merriam Webster’s Spell-Jam” is a fun unique twist
to the word game genre. A real “play on words” you could say!

Get Merriam Webster's Spell Jam Here

Graphics C+
Sound C+
Pickup & Play C+
Overall Fun C+

Posted by oxyjen on Jun 8, 2007


1 Comment(s):

On June 13, 2007, said:
get me in here


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