Boggle Review

Boggle for the Palm Pre is a word-game lover's treat with plenty of play modes and a clean, well-designed interface.

Playing the original board game Boggle is a fun but cumbersome experience. You cram 16 jumbo-sized letter cubes into a plastic container, clamp on the lid, and give it a vigorous shake, which makes an incredible racket. Then you shuffle the contraption until the cubes fall into separate slots on the game board and you end up with 16 random letters faceup on a grid. You then set a timer, and everyone tries to come up with as many different words as possible by stringing together adjacent letters. Fortunately for those of us who keep losing the plastic letter pieces, EA has done a remarkable job of replicating the fun of the original game on the Palm Pre, while adding a few elements to the mix that take advantage of the platform.

You have to form words out of a jumble of lettered blocks.
You have to form words out of a jumble of lettered blocks.

The Pre version of Boggle offers a few different game modes, such as the single-player classic mode, which will make Boggle fans feel right at home. A single tap on the screen sets up the board and also starts a three-minute timer. To enter words, you can either drag your finger across individual letters to spell out words (which is somewhat problematic since you can accidentally highlight the wrong letter), or just tap letters, which works better.

All words you've formed appear in the window next to the game board, along with each word's point value. At the end of the round, your score goes into the leaderboard and you're shown how many words you found out of the total number possible. There's also a list of all possible words, and you can tap any of them to see where they are on the game board.

Multiplayer comes in several varieties: online, pass-and-play, and self-score mode. Online multiplayer tries to connect you to another player by waiting for someone else to try to start a game too. It searches for a minute before timing out and asking you to try again later. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, there isn't a huge multiplayer contingent out there, so it's unlikely you'll happen upon an opponent. Pass-and-play mode requires you to play a match on your own and then hand the phone to someone else so that person can play using the exact same board. Self-score mode limits the amount of computer input to nothing, mimicking the board game. It sets up a board with random letters and starts a three-minute countdown. No player inputs are accepted, so you have to write your answers on a sheet of paper, and you can score them however you want.

The "advanced" menu has some interesting options that wouldn't be feasible on a real Boggle board. A "panic flip" game plays normally until 20 seconds are left on the clock, at which point the game gives you a totally new arrangement of letters. A game with "portal cubes" enabled swaps the first and last letter of each word you play, making the game board dynamic, interesting, and occasionally frustrating.

The game also offers a number of extras. A stats screen mines all kinds of data, detailing everything from your best games to your average time between finding words. You can also unlock up to 18 achievements by completing various tasks.

You can let the computer keep track of your words and score, or you can do it yourself.
You can let the computer keep track of your words and score, or you can do it yourself.

And Boggle looks stellar. The colors are bright, the contours are bold, and the interface is clean. The only thing that's missing is sound. There's no sound at all in this version of the game. Though the lack of sound and the lack of multiplayer competition out there aren't ideal, the Pre version of Boggle otherwise has a surprising amount to offer. The game's various modes and extra features offer plenty to do for both solo players and those who like to play with nearby friends, and best of all, there are no more annoying plastic parts to lose.

This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner

The Good
Great word-forming fun
Extra modes
Quality graphics.
The Bad
No sound
Not many players online.
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Boggle (1999) More Info

  • First Released November 2009
    • Palm webOS
    This is a handheld version of the popular board game based on making words from a jumble of lettered blocks.
    Developed by:
    EA Mobile
    Published by:
    EA Mobile
    Trivia/Board Game