Kotoba no Puzzle Mojipittan Daijiten Hands-On

We try out Namco's head-spinning Japanese word game for the PSP.

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Kotoba no Puzzle: Mojipittan Daijiten
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Namco's Kotoba no Puzzle Mojipittan Daijiten for the PSP is a port of the PlayStation 2's Mojipittan Japanese word puzzle game, which plays a bit like the classic Scrabble board game. Xenosaga fans who bought an import of Xenosaga Freak should be familiar with Mojipittan, since a special edition of the game was included on the Xenosage Freak game disc. We got a chance to put the PSP version of the game through the paces while scouring the TGS show floor.

Your basic objective in Kotoba no Puzzle Mojipittan Daijiten is to form various words by connecting blocks of text on the puzzle board. It sounds easy enough, but the catch is that you need to create a word every time you place a block adjacent to another block, and it has to be legible from top to bottom or left to right, which are the two standard ways of reading Japanese text. What's more, you need to fulfill certain special conditions to pass through each of the stages in the game, such as forming a hundred words on a puzzle board that has only about 40 empty spaces to place blocks.

With all those conditions, Mojipittan sounds might more like homework than fun. But it's actually amusing and not too difficult--one of the reasons being that you can take back your moves as often as you want, and another reason being that given the large vocabulary of words in the game's dictionary, you often end up accidentally spelling words that you've never even heard of.

What's new to the PSP version of Mojipittan is that the game has a mode in which you can play without a time limit, although the stage conditions will become a bit tougher here. And for the first time in the series, the game will include a computer opponent that you can play against.

Like with most Japanese text-based games, the chances of Mojipittan hitting American shores are pretty slim. But for gamers attempting to learn Japanese, Mojipittan might be an interesting way of learning words. If you want to try out a demo before thinking about any future plans of getting the game for the PSP, check out Namco's official Mojipittan site.

For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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