Thanks to Coderchild for the review code
Title: Wordsup Academy
System: 3DS (eShop)
Release date: 05/12/2016
The main game/story
An upgraded version of the DSiWare title 3…2…1… Wordsup! You take control of a new student to an academy, who must defeat the instructors in word battles to pass. Despite the main mode being titled “Story Mode”, its more of an arcade mode, so don’t expect an in-depth story.
When compared to the DSiWare original, the menus and in-game interface are pretty much exactly the same as the ones found in 321, meaning that if you’re used to how that game plays and feels, you should easily be able to jump into this one. The biggest change to the aesthetics, however is the versus mode with the CPU, where all new characters interact with you in an interface that wouldn’t be too out of place in a visual novel. For the most part, these character designs look good enough, although there are very few of these characters, they still manage to fit the whole mood of the Academy, and actually fit in really well with the pre-existing backgrounds (Which are mostly taken from 321)
Music and Sound
The soundtrack from 321 makes a return here, considering how this is an upgrade of the original title, and these songs work well for the modes they play in. A more frantic theme for the versus mode, a relaxed theme for the single player modes, and so on. Not really anything of importance to note here.
For those unfamiliar with how Wordsup plays, it’s a rather simple game. The main goal of the title is to form as many words as you can in a time limit, using the seven letters on the bottom screen. With such a limited amount of letters, you’ll probably be as surprised at I was to see the amount of words that can be created with such a limited assortment, although depending on the circumstances, you can replace your current set of letters with a brand new one if the one you were given is too confusing. In the single player modes, Wordsup is a high-score chaser, encouraging you to think quick and try to create as many words as possible, with modes like the Blitz mode giving you a new set of letters every 30 seconds.
The new addition to the game, and arguably the major component to this version is the multiplayer mode. Essentially a tug-of-war between you and a computer player, you must try to gain as much ground as possible before the timer runs out, or simply overwhelm your opponent with completed words. The Story Mode is where this mode is primarily featured, although as I pointed out earlier, its more or less the “Arcade Mode” of this title, with a pretty aggressive AI that ramps up quickly as you aim to defeat the four opponents. Luckily there’s another mode that lets you face off against the opponents you’ve unlocked in a more casual fashion, with the option to turn down the difficulty. With a pretty good idea for a versus mode, you’d expect at least local multiplayer for the game, right? Well, for some baffling reason, there’s no multiplayer with other users to speak of, not even a local multiplayer mode! While there are online leaderboards to compare your best scores with other players, the lack of any peer-to-peer multiplayer is completely baffling, and honestly makes the whole versus concept a bit disappointing.
In conclusion, Wordsup Academy is a decent upgrade to the DSiWare original, with more modes, a versus focus, and Miiverse support. However, the limited appeal to the versus mode and the lack of any multiplayer options to speak of really do hurt this game in the long run, although the low price tag of $3 makes this easy to recommend over the original version. Just don’t expect much from the versus mode and practice with the single player modes and you’ll have a good time if you love word puzzle games. As a fun bonus, if you’re practicing languages such as Spanish or French, then this game will certainly challenge you to expand your vocabulary. I give Wordsup Academy a 7 out of 10, and recommend to all high score fans wanting to practice their vocabulary. Just don’t expect an engaging versus mode or multiplayer of any kind.