Green bookworm Lex, the mascot of the previous Pop Cap game Bookworm, is back for more word-creating action in Bookworm Adventures, but with RPG-style combat added to the mix.Lex's adventures begin with a quest: save Cassandra the oracle, who has been kidnapped by an unknown evil. With the aid of Professor Codex's magic pen, he jumps into the books of the Great Library to search for her, defeating enemies along the way with words created from a 4x4 grid of letters. The longer the words, the more powerful Lex's attacks are.As Lex progresses through each book chapter (ten per book), the monsters (in the first book, Oedipus Lex, based on Classical Mythology, with the second, Arabian Knight, of Arabian Nights and the third, Lexonomicon, of Gothic Horror) get more difficult, with a boss fight at the end of every chapter. Fortunately, Lex also becomes stronger; he occasionally levels up in HP, attack, or defense and obtains a nifty treasure at the end of every chapter with various beneficial effects. Additionally, every book has optional minigames, unlocked once Lex has completed a certain number of chapters, that can be played for prizes.The plot also thickens the further Lex seems to get in his quest; while it's fairly linear and relatively simplistic compared to pure RPGs, each book adds one or two twists to it and the resulting plot is a bit more complex than you would expect of a game with a bookworm as the main character.Of course, Bookworm's major appeal is the word making, and Bookworm Adventures upholds that tradition very, very much with bonus sparkly gem tiles and much better chances to piece together 10+ words. A free trial and/or purchase of the game is available here.A sequel, Bookworm Adventures Volume 2 was released in 2009. The three books in this installment are Fractured Fairytales (which interestingly includes Alice in Wonderland), The Monkey King (based on Chinese Mythology), and Astounding Planet (based on Science Fiction). It also differs in adding companions that perform a beneficial action every four turns.
Awesome yet Practical: You might want to hoard some of the more powerful gem tiles for boss battles, but there's no harm in putting a couple of the lower-ranked ones into your words as long-enough words will automatically give you more gem tiles. Likewise, treasures that boost gem effects (the Scimitar of Justice in the original and the Gumdrop Necklace/Collapsible Iron Rod in Volume 2) work really well.
Bag of Spilling: To a certain extent; Lex loses levels and most of his treasures in the sequel (as well as a ten-of-each potion limit), but retains the ability to use gem tiles. However, several treasures in the sequel have functions nearly identical to some from the original.
The Chosen One: Lex is revealed to be this near the end of the first game.
Continuity Nod: Two of these in Volume 2 - Codex's magic pen is even more of a Plot Device than in the first game, and the book enumeration continues, starting with "book 4".
Creative Closing Credits: In both games, the credits are the names of the people involved in making the game being attacked by (and then defeating) various enemies from the game. The first game even has music especially for the credits (Volume 2 doesn't, but the Astounding Planet main theme works surprisingly well in this regard).
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: When Lex dies, he's merely transported back to the beginning of the chapter he died in. The game says that you lose the potions you used, but you'd have lost them anyway even if you had survived (them having been used, after all). Plus, you don't lose experience and you get the opportunity to replay minigames to win additional potions and/or gem tiles if you're far enough in the book, which means that you can deliberately throw the boss fight in a late chapter of a book, play the minigames to get more potions and gem tiles, then go back to that chapter and defeat all enemies for more experience, and even throw the boss fight again to stock up on more potions and experience. When you die, Cassandra (Mother Goose in Volume 2) even says that "dying is a minor setback".
Evil Plan: Professor Codex appears to be happy to help Lex rescue Cassandra, but it turns out that he had reasons of his own to help Lex make it through all the books, as detailed above in The Reveal. Also, the entire events of the second game are a plot to create a Stable Time Loop assuring Bigger Brother power.
Heroic BSOD/Despair Event Horizon: Happens to Lex in the first game when he believes that Cassandra and Professor Codex are dead, after seeing their fake graves. It's even reflected in his sprite, where he has a panicked/sad expression on his face.
Inventory Management Puzzle: Lex can only carry three treasures at a time (two treasures & a companion in Volume 2). The total number of treasures is eighteen (thirteen with six companions in Volume 2).
Justified Tutorial: The first few chapters are essentially Cassandra sending psychic visions to teach Lex the basics of gameplay.
Volume 2's tutorial is Lex doing morning training.
Kamehame Hadoken: Lex at the very end of the first game (although it comes out his mouth, considering he doesn't have hands).
Loading Screen: When loading a world, there are humorous little loading phrases such as "Animating things" and "Dividing by 0". Also when the game starts up, there are letter tiles spelling out "Loading" that Lex chomps through. This concept may reference the game's predecessor, Bookworm.
The Reveal: Lex learns near the end of the game that the Big Bad who kidnapped Cassandra wasn't Dracula but Professor Codex who used his imprisonment of Cassandra (and Dracula's apparent kidnapping of him) to maneuver Lex into fighting the books' monsters and unknowingly breaking the chains of fiction that kept them in the books. Thanks to Lex doing such a great job with these monsters, Codex can now control them as his minions.
Riddle Me This: The Sphinx battle consists entirely of this, as the goal is to spell the exact word she wants.
Standard Sci Fi Setting: Astounding Planet from Volume 2 has extraterrestrials, mutants, future humans, robots, time travel, virtual beings and a dystopia.
Standard Status Effects: Enemies can poison, stun, petrify, burn, cut, freeze and/or depower Lex, sometimes more than one effect in a single attack. On the other hand, Lex can poison, burn, depower and/or freeze them right back with the right types of gem tiles, cut them with specific treasures, stun them with the right treasure or companion, and purify himself of all negative status effects with a blue potion, crystal tile or a specific companion. Some treasures also protect him from specific effects, but usually not all the time.
Status Buff: Drinking a green potion increases the power of Lex's next word-based attack. However, enemies can also power themselves up.
Words Can Break My Bones: Every monster defeated by Lex will have to explain to their family and friends that they were beaten like a red-headed stepchild by the words of a bespectacled green worm with a bowtie. And they couldn't even break his glasses!