Curtis: I’ll start liking this game as soon as I know how to read. So, in a few years, this game would come in handy as a treat at reading time.

Thomas and the Magical Words let us trace the footsteps of little Thomas Broombucket, a young wizard who got an F in Magic Spell Words. His uncle Artem magicked him into the spelling textbook, and he must spell his way out, all the while rescuing his animal friends who are also trapped in the book. The arch villain, Sbooky, will be there every turn of the way to make Thomas’ quest all the more difficult.

Reading that theme, you’d think that this is a pure kids’ game. It is. On the other hand, it is a Scrabbles based game that works very well, and can be very enjoyable for the adults who play along. At times it also gets very challenging, but never impossible. The game is time-based, but you race against a VERY slow moving time bar. It plays like Scrabble with a side-scrolling map; you need to build bridges of words in order to reach islands. You get a handful of tiles at a time which will be replenished each time you spell a word -when you reach islands that has animals on them, they will give you power-ups to aid you in your quest.

These power-ups are the hammer, clear, magic tile and the hint hat. The first two are pretty self-explanatory, the magic tile acts as a blank tile, and the hint hat will let you know what words you can spell with the letters you have. Sometimes there will be rows of coins floating in the water or swamp, and building your words on top of them will net you those coins. Building any word will also give you extra time for your time bar.

Weeds and other obstructions are placed on the way to make things a little more challenging. The game doesn’t let you save halfway through a stage, and considering how long each stage is, that can be a bit frustrating. Each stage – depending on how good you are at Scrabble – can take up to 20-25 minutes. Shorter stages pan out to be 5 minutes each if you’re quick to spot words in scrambled letters.

What makes Thomas such a wonderful game to play with kids is also the storybook factor. The game plays in chapters, and each segment of the story is actually entertaining – they’re not just fillers. You can also click on the book anytime during the game to see a little note on each of the animals you’ve rescued, and look at the meanings of the words you have spelled.

Thomas and the Magical Words might not be a new game, but it is a great game that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. A great educational and entertaining game for those of us who love Scrabble (and those who need “fun” put back into spelling!)

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