Word Nerd is a multiplayer word game based on Hasbro's Boggle. The game may not be much to look at, but its intuitive interface and excellent online competition make it a fun and addictive play--superior to Jamdat's single-player branded Boggle game. Consider Word Nerd a surprise success.
Word Nerd reduces the traditional Boggle board to a three-by-four array of randomized letters, each of which is bound to a number key. This is an elegant system, allowing for rapid word entry, which is a necessity in online play. The trade-off is, of course, the reduced board size, which only occasionally proves problematic when you get a board with, say, only one vowel. Still, this method of entry is far preferable to Jamdat Boggle's slow-poke navigation-pad system.
At the end of each match, you're scored based on the number of words you were able to find and the respective lengths of those words. Judging from the time Word Nerd takes to tabulate your scores, it probably checks your word list against an online dictionary. In series confrontations, in which you challenge your opponent to up to three rounds, the player with the highest total score is declared the victor.
Although Word Nerd doesn't employ usernames or text taunts, it manages to foster a really competitive atmosphere. The level of online play is unsettlingly high. Unless you're a real word-game maven, you'll be hard pressed to come out with many victories. The Word Nerd regulars are performing on another plane entirely.
The game's matchmaking service works quite well on the LG VX7000. You set a few parameters--such as the number and length of the matches--and then enter seek mode. During this time you can hang out on the main menu or view the online leaderboard. Word Nerd will vibrate enthusiastically when a match is found. This typically takes 20 seconds to a minute. Your success or failure in the match obviously affects your overall ranking. You can see a Nerd's leaderboard position when you're matched with him.
While Word Nerd employs a barebones UI, and basically doesn't benefit from any visual frills, its sound is totally amazing. The MIDI background music sounds as though it belongs in the final boss fight of an NES game in which many people are kicked in the head. Word Nerd's sound is defaulted to off, so toggle it on for a hilarious surprise.
Whether you've got 30 seconds or a few minutes to play, Word Nerd is an excellent distraction. This isn't a game you're going to want to punch away at for marathon sessions; however, thanks to its excellent and challenging online competition, Word Nerd could remain fresh and enjoyable for months of casual play. If you're a fan of word games and are looking to exercise your left brain, you'd do well to give Word Nerd a go.