(TM) Crossword Game for PalmOS
by: Handmark, go
to the web site
3.0 or later (color or monochrome), 2MB RAM minimum; Windows
95 or higher or MacOS 8.5-9.x with Palm Desktop, compatible
HotSync cradle or cable; CD-ROM drive
are only a few genuinely popular family games
which have withstood the test of time. Starting
off as board games, evolving into ever fancier
formats, then moving to the Atari and Amiga,
PC and Mac, these games captured and continue
to capture the interest of generations of players
around the world. The best of them - RISK, Monopoly,
Scrabble, Clue and Mahjong - have been translated
into almost every written language in the world.
The games survive and continue to flourish because
of two key factors: 2-4 players are ideal and
the complexity and challenge of the games vary
with the skill of the players. The success of
these game concepts is remarkable. Scrabble is
the latest of the classics to make the jump to
and Infogrames Interactive, Inc. have managed to effectively
condense the larger board, tile and letter tray context of
Scrabble into the small-screen format of the PDA. The layout
is easy to understand and most people familiar with typical
software interfaces on PalmOS will be up and running without
having to read the instructions. We tested Scrabble on four
different PDAs (everybody in our research office has a PDA
these days): Sony Clie PEG-S360 (greyscale PalmOS 4.0), Sony
Clie N760C (color PalmOS 4.1), Handspring Visor Prism (color
PalmOS 3.5) and a Palm M105 (monochrome PalmOS 3.5). Scrabble
installed and ran flawlessly on all of the PDAs. Game play
is easy to execute: tap a letter in your tray, then tap a
location on the Scrabble board to move the letter into position.
If the word is not accepted, you tap each letter to return
it to your tray and try again.
initial forays into Scrabble sessions with the Palm as our
opponent were somewhat frustrating. The Palm shows no sympathy
for your rusty vocabulary, trotting out words such as "ae"
"re" and dozens of two-letter, multi-word combinations.
You may be stretched to your limits in very short order. Palm
beat me 10 straight games in its Novice mode before I got
my first victory. It took two and a half weeks before I was
confident enough to challenge the Palm in its Intermediate
level. There are four levels at which Palm can be set as your
opponent: Beginner, Novice, Intermediate and Expert. Up to
four players can go at it - there's a setting for Human. In
fact any 1, 2, 3, or 4 player combination of humans and Palm
can be set up.
three weeks of varied play by at least 4 different people,
there were no crashes, glitches or incompatibilities with
other programs on the PDAs.
Due to range limitations inherent in most PalmOS PDAs in use
right now, infrared games can be problematic. In addition,
you need at least two different licenses to play via beaming,
which isn't likely to interest very many families (we purchased
an extra license to do this review). The dictionary which
PalmOS uses in Novice mode is extensive enough to be very
hard to beat, even for vocabulary freaks. Only average looking
in monochrome or greyscale.
The implementation of the game is faithful to the original
in most important ways except tile pickup after your turn
- the game adds tiles to your rack for you. Terrific in color;
acceptable in monochrome or greyscale. From time to time you
will be playing this for hours on end - it's a lot of fun.
The installed dictionaries are extensive enough to challenge
your vocabulary no matter how literate you are. Handmark has
a winner. Highly recommended.
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