Game Review – Rosetta Stone
October 17, 2009
Firstly, I’d like to introduce myself, I’m Andrew McCluskey, aka “NAL”, the newest addition to the Game Maker Blog team. My contributions are solely going to focus on reviewing Game Maker games from the past and present. I’ll write these every one to two weeks. The first game I shall be reviewing is the most recent featured (though fairly old) game on YoYo Games.
Rosetta Stone, created by Kenneth Le Blanc (Elmernite), is a word puzzle game similar in style to popular Popcap game “Bookworm”. In the game, you are presented with a set of random letters and have to create words from them. By doing so, the letters chosen disappear. Rosetta Stone attempts to differentiate itself from the games using this premise with a small yet signifact twist, however. Instead of one grid, letters (shown on blocks) are dropped onto two pans of a set of weighing scales. You lose the game when one side drops too far from heaviness, with the final score you achieve being based on the quantity and length of achieved words.
To add variety to the gameplay, some blocks possess different properties to others. The majority will be a standard stone affair. “Special” blocks include metal blocks, which are of greater weight than usual (either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on which side they land on), dynamite blocks, which blow up if you don’t clear them as part of a word quick enough, and gold blocks, which add multipliers to the score the word they’re part of achieves. Weirdly, the gold blocks don’t seem to be different in mass to the stone ones.
If you’re not a fan of word games, Rosetta Stone has a second trick up its sleeve – mathematics! In this mode, there’s a randomised number displayed, and instead of letters on the blocks there are single-digit numbers and operators. The gameplay’s the same, though slightly more difficult because the division symbols are pretty useless and hence clog the screen up. Although you can go through multiple operations to get to the displayed figure, you can’t just type in the number shown (understandable), and you can’t hit more than one digit block in succession to include double-digit numbers in your equation (annoying).
Graphically, there are parts of the game that look really good, and parts that are a tad dodgy. The background graphics fit in really well with the style of the game. I didn’t like the use of Papyrus/Times New Roman though (I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to typefaces, I’m sure most people wouldn’t consider Papyrus a negative). On the whole, the game looks professional, which is what matters most.
On the whole, I enjoyed Rosetta Stone. The addition of balance perils gave the game a nice little break from all the word games that rely on a clichÃ©d time limit to add a dimension of danger to the game. It also increases the need to strategise – you have to attempt to spell out long words, but you also have to make sure they’re not going to unbalance the scales to tipping point. I guess the easiest way to say if you’ll like this game or not is if you’ve enjoyed word games in the past (I don’t know anyone that hasn’t played at least one before). It was recently featured on YoYo Games, which you can play from the link below.