Word Monaco is a great word game for Palm devices from Astraware, and as with Text Twist and other puzzle games there are many of us out there that enjoy such games! Puzzle games are an excellent way of spending time be it on the daily commute to work, when travelling away on holiday or even any spare time you get at home, because they challenge you.

Word Monaco describes itself as solitaire for the sophisticated traveller. And I can safely say that despite being an “interesting” description of a game it is to some extent fairly true! Everybody knows how to play Solitaire, with the aim being to clear the board of all the cards available by placing them in stacks in order and then clearing them by piling them up at the top in order too. And to some extent the way Solitaire is played is the basic principle of Word Monaco. However, no playing cards are involved. Instead cards are in the format of the beginning of a game of Solitaire but they all have letters on.

The aim of the game is to make a full set of words by using all the cards available to you. Words are formed vertically, and you are able to move individual letters or groups of letters from column to column, only if they make a word or the beginning of a word. So simplistically put, you have to drag cards between columns to create words vertically. You also need to get all the cards face up and arranged into words.

When you have created a word which is in the Word Monaco dictionary a diamond appears at the top of the relevant column. The list of available words does not include proper names, acronyms, hyphenated words, or words with apostrophes.

However the game is not quite as simply as I have described it there. There is one little aspect which aims to help you to progress through the game which is the presence of either one or two joker cards. These cards can represent any letter thus making it easier to form words with them if you find yourself in a tricky situation. There is also a little option which lets you peek at the face-down cards. On easy mode there are two jokers present; medium mode has most of the alphabet but without Q, Z, X, J and V, whereas hard mode contains all the letters of the alphabet.

There are also three available game modes which add to the playability and lifespan of Word Monaco, and they are all set in different “areas” of Monaco, hence adding to the sophisticated element. Firstly there is “Royalty Café” mode where you have to use all the letters to make words. One word must use all the special cards, or three words must use each one separately. Every word must also be three or more letters long. On “Train Station” mode you must also use all the letters; however either one word must use all four special letters or they must be used in four separate words. Plus each word must be four or more letters long. There is also the simplest mode called “Larvotto Beach” where there are no special requirements and you simply have to use all the letters to make words.

The graphics on Word Monaco are very clear, and it is easy to see what is going on. The user interface and game screen are unambiguous and there are many options to choose from which lengthen the lifespan of the game. Word Monaco is an excellent word / puzzle game which is thoroughly entertaining and enthralling, yet also challenging and exciting.

As I mentioned the other day in my review of Text Twist there is a certain element and something that draws you in about puzzle / card / and word games they keeps you coming back for more. They build up this competitive edge which drives you on, aiming to better your previous score. They are also great in a multiplayer aspect; in that once you’ve achieved the highest score you can you can save your score on the leader board which other people can then attempt to beat.

Word Monaco gets 10 out of 10 from me and the game is available from SmartboxDesign.
POSTED BY Jonathan Winter, Sub Editor, Oldham, UK