Wordament Web becomes the first browser game with Xbox Achievements
When exclusive Xbox Windows Phone/Windows 8 game Wordament jumped ship to iOS, we were perhaps a little disappointed. Windows Phone needs all the exclusive games it can get, and Microsoft doesn’t need to do Apple any favors. Still, the game has gone multiplatform now and there’s no turning back.
In fact, Microsoft just published the most platform-agnostic version of Wordament ever. This one’s playable via HTML5-enabled web browsers. Best of all for Xbox gamers, the web game comes with 50 GamerScore worth of Achievements!
Finally, a browser game worth caring about
Xbox.com has hosted a small selection of browser games for a while now, including PopCap’s Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies, and Zuma’s Revenge. Fine games, but you can already play them for free at PopCap.com. All three games are also available for Xbox 360, and two of them for Windows Phone. The Xbox.com versions don’t offer Xbox Live Achievements, so there’s really no point to them other than entertaining a few random visitors who don’t know any better.
Wordament Web, however is a fully-featured port of the existing online word game we all know and love. This port comes from Babaroga, who also handled the iOS game. The visual interface is amazingly close to previous versions, though the lack of a full-screen option (that I could find) makes the game appear tinier than necessary. Just like the Windows 8 version, playing with a mouse is slightly less intuitive than touch screens, but still doable.
The options screen looks much more web browser-y, but it allows users to choose between the game’s impressive array of languages. During gameplay, tabs on the right side of the screen toggle between Frenemy display (including Xbox Live friends), Achievements, Other (web) Games, and Notifications (whatever those are).
Wordament is incredibly fun for word game aficionados, but the Windows Phone and Windows 8 versions both have a handful of Achievements that will take either pure dedication or some cheating to unlock. Thankfully none of the web game’s Achievements are tied to being the best player in the world or having a dictionary built into your brain. Anybody should be able to unlock them all in 15-30 minutes.
Sort of a three-screen experience
Wordament Web is the first Xbox-enabled game that can be played on multiple platforms via one single version with no porting involved. In fact, it runs on both Windows 8/RT and Windows Phone 8. There’s a catch though: swiping up and down on Microsoft’s touch-screen devices also scrolls the screen up and down, making it difficult to actually play the game. You can’t lock the screen scrolling in place.
On the Surface users can get around that problem by using a mouse to play the game. Windows Phone unfortunately doesn’t support alternate input devices, so don’t expect much success when attempting to play it from your phone.
Good for the gander?
One could probably make an argument that Xbox Live Achievements should be restricted to Microsoft platforms and kept off of the web. Still, I don’t think putting real Achievements in a browser game is such a bad thing.
Most computer users rock Windows, after all. Whereas Windows Phone is an underdog OS and needs all the help it can get to compete with iPhone, Windows rules the computer roost and won’t be losing any competitive edge by letting a few misguided (I kid!) Mac users enjoy a taste of the fun.
One thing’s for sure – Achievement hunters won’t turn away 50 free GamerScore that doesn’t require a new hardware purchase.
Time to play!
Try out Wordament Web here at Xbox.com.
Thanks to TNTJudbud for the tip!