Games: Word Vine

I decided I needed to find a new word game to play. I’ve been enjoying Word Spell, so much so that I need to limit how much I play it. Not only do I keep playing longer than I intended, but the rapid mousing (to drag the letters to where they need to go) to get as many words as I can within the time limit is a lot of work for my wrist, and I don’t want to get carpal tunnel syndrome.

So I set out to find a new game, and I found a pretty good challenge in Word Vine. The game gives a list of words that match up in pairs in some way. For instance, given the words LIGHT, TRAFFIC, BULB, and WEIGHT, you can make light bulb, traffic light, and lightweight. That would be pretty easy if all you had to do was drag the words to each other to show that they are linked. But instead they have to be placed on a diagram showing the links.

Even that would be easy enough if you got to build the diagram yourself. Put LIGHT in the middle, then draw lines going out from it to TRAFFIC, BULB, and WEIGHT. But Word Vine gives you the diagram also, and you have to drag each word to the appropriate place on the diagram, forming leaves on a vine (hence the name). For an easy puzzle such as the example given, it’s clear that LIGHT needs to go in the middle, and the others around the outside (word order does not match, so WEIGHT can appear to the left of LIGHT, or TRAFFIC to the right of LIGHT.

As you progress to more difficult levels, however, the number of words increases. Perhaps the WEIGHT that goes with LIGHT also goes with PAPER (paperweight), which goes with TISSUE (tissue paper) and NEWS (newspaper), which goes with STAND (news stand), which goes with HAND (handstand), which goes with FIRST (firsthand) and SHAKE (handshake), which goes with MILK (milkshake), which goes with BUTTER (buttermilk), which goes with FLY (butterfly). Of course, FLY could also goes with PAPER (flypaper), but I don’t remember any puzzles where the vine ended up in a circle.

Even when you have identified which words can go together, figuring out where to place them on the vine can be a challenge. Sometimes I have most of the words placed successfully (words change color to show when they work with the words around them, but they do not indicate whether they are in a place that will work for the whole puzzle), but end up with a few words left over that don’t fit with the configuration of the “vine.” So I have to move all the words off and start again with a different arrangement, preserving the same relationships among words.

If that sounds very confusing, that’s because it’s a visual word game. You need to see it to understand how it works. I think very visually, so I like a game like this – but at the “hard” level it’s quite a challenge, and after struggling through one last game at my son’s request (and with his help), I decided it was time to call it quits. I didn’t realize until I returned to the menu that I had finished most of the available puzzles, as it doesn’t tell you (that I noticed) what number puzzle you are on or how many there are total, while you are playing.

There are sixty; between the two of us we finished 52. So, unless I want to go back and redo some of the ones we already finished (which I don’t think I will do), after finishing eight more challenging puzzles I’ll be done with Word Vine. But it’s been a good challenge and a fun way to play with words. (Oh, the music is nice too – quiet and soothing so it doesn’t distract you from thinking about the words.)

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