WordJong (Nintendo DS) Review


Scrabble + Mahjong

WordJong has been a favorite PC title for casual gamers for a while, and can be played for free at various web sites.  It uniquely combines two games that provoke different parts of your brain: Scrabble and Mahjong.  You have to spell out words using the tiles on the screen, but Mahjong rules determine which tiles are available (you don’t have to match tiles as in traditional Mahjong).

The game has been so popular that it has been ported to several mobile devices, and now the addictive puzzle game is available on the Nintendo DS.  So why would you pay good money for a game that you can play online for free?  Well, Destineer Studios has enhanced the gameplay to take advantage of the Nintendo DS platform, which opens up new play opportunities.

The Smash Hit Online Game.  Made Even Better.

Highly addictive wordplay: Use sets of lettered tiles to create words, clearing the board as you use tiles. Play against any of seven AI opponents in Battle mode, beat the high score in Daily Mode, or earn rank medals as you climb your way to the top in Temple Challenge Mode.

Take on friends via Local Wireless, or battle WordJong players around the world via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The game starts off with a large pile of tiles, arranged in various Mahjong styles.  You have 9 letter slots with which to spell words from the available tiles, and more letters in the words rack up additional points.  As mentioned earlier, the basic rules of Mahjong determine which tiles are available for use.  You don’t have to match tiles as in traditional Mahjong; only the rules for tile selection apply.  You can’t select a tile that is boxed in or buried by other tiles, so you have to get creative and “think ahead” about which words to spell as you unlock more letters.

If you use so many letters, you can unlock a “wild” tile, which can be used to get out of a sticky situation.  You can get the Wild tile back again once you’ve used it, which can help with your strategy if you’re a wordsmith.  The game continues on until all of the tiles in your pile are used. 

If you don’t use every single tile, then you have to “undo” your words and try again until every single tile is used.  I’ve found that it’s helpful to reserve the Wild card for when you’re down to the last few words.