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Video Game / Bookworm Adventures

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The Intro
Green bookworm Lex, the mascot of the previous PopCap game Bookworm, is back for more word-creating action in 2006's 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 and rainbow tiles that function as wildcards.


This game contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Polyphemus can apparently move his arms in a complete circle.
  • Actionized Sequel: The original game was nothing more than a word-forming puzzle game. The Bookworm Adventures games on the other hand, have you using said word-forming prowess to turn words into weapons and magic to battle famous characters from literature and history.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The theme of the second book.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: There's one who drops a cow on Lex in Volume 2.
  • Alliterative Name: Among others, the malicious magistrate who (indirectly) points Lex towards Dracula.
  • Ancient Grome: Oedipus Lex, otherwise based on Greek myth, contains references to Hercules (should be Heracles).
  • Ancient Tomb: The Tomb of the Ancients.
  • And I Must Scream: Codex is trapped inside the Magic Pen itself at the end of the first game.
  • Animated Armor: Maladin apparently has some for sale.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From Volume 2:
    The tailless tiger of Wushan was feared by all, peasant and king alike. It ran fast, so fast, and was considered weird by most observers.
  • Art Evolution: Volume 2 uses a more cartoonlike style than its predecessor.
  • Astral Finale: Astounding Planet, the final book of Volume 2.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: In general, any treasure you have to go of of your way to use (Volume 2 has fewer of these).
  • Badass Bookworm: Lex, in the most literal form ever.
  • Badass Crew: Lex & his companions in Volume 2.
  • 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.
  • Bears Are Bad News: In Volume 2, as the Papa Bear will steal your jeweled tiles with his "pilfer" ability. Adding insult to injury, he'll smash your tiles, too.
  • Berserk Button: Lex faces almost every situation with a cheery attitude...until he sees someone burning books.
  • Big Bad: Professor Codex in the first game and Bigger Brother in the second.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The Big Bad of Volume 2.
  • Big "NO!": Lex does this three times: when Codex kidnaps Cassandra, when he correctly refuses to believe Cassandra & Codex have died & when he realizes he's on Earth.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In Bookworm Adventures Volume 2, the Lex (and companions) get to the Magic Pen, but, unfortunately, it's broken down the middle and Lex doesn't have enough time to fix it, though, before self-destructing, the Pen sacrifices itself to save the Great Library.
  • Bizarre Bazaar: The Bazaar of the Bizarre, where Lex reencounters Maladin.
  • Bland-Name Product: Wikipedia Galactica.
  • Blob Monster: Several are encountered.
  • Book Burning: Handwaved by Bigger Brother in Volume 2:
    We do not burn. We extract. We tear the living story from each page and feed it to our Engine. There will be no word, dream or leap of heart that is not ours.
  • Boring, but Practical: Any item that disables status effects. They aren't as flashy as some Awesome, but Impractical items, but you will need them later on.
    • Emerald and Garnet tiles as well. Emerald tiles heal you a bit, and Garnet weakens your enemy.
  • Boss Battle: Once per chapter.
  • Boss-Only Level: Three in the first game (the Hydra, the Sphinx and Codex) and four in the second (the Caterpillar, the Monkey King, the Dancebots and the Machine).
  • Bubblegloop Swamp/Swamps Are Evil: The Lernean Swamp & the Quagmire, both from the original.
  • Butterfly of Doom: A boss in Volume 2, based of Bradbury's "A Sound Of Thunder".
    "It is imperative that clients not disturb the butterfly."
  • Cap: Volume 2 adds a ten-of-each-potion limit.
  • Carnivore Confusion: A Double Subversion; Codex, a bird, is a Treacherous Advisor to Lex, a worm.
  • Cassandra Truth: Dracula makes an allusion to Codex's evil nature. Lex, of course, has none of it.
  • Character Title: The Monkey King, the second book of Volume 2.
  • 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).
  • Creepy Cemetery: The Graveyard of Lost Hopes.
  • Cunning Linguist: Polyphemus.
  • 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".
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: The Monkey King, though, that's because he has to and Skeletrox, as he's been put in "reset mode".
  • Dem Bones: Dracula has an army of skeletal warriors, which oddly has a Mummy as the commander.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Lex defeats The Grim Reaper. In the demo of the game he beats Odin.
  • Dracula: The alleged Big Bad of the first game.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: The Monkey King.
  • Dystopia: Near the end of Volume 2.
  • Earth All Along: Near the beginning of Astounding Planet in Volume 2.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: One of the centaurs.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: There are a lot of things that want our green hero dead.
  • Evil All Along: Codex, the original holder of the Magic pen, uses Lex to take the creatures Lex takes out for himself to kill him off.
  • Evil Chef: One of the troglocks in Volume 2.
  • 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.
  • Far East: The Monkey King.
  • Feather Fingers: Codex often uses these.
  • Feathered Fiend: Several birds are encountered as enemies (Codex being the most notable).
  • Final Boss: Professor Codex in the first game and the Rift Engine in the second.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The game seems to consider these (plus poison) as the main elements.
  • Fish People: The Creature.
  • Flying Dutchman: In Chapter 2 of "Lexonomicon", the Final Boss is called the Eternal Wanderer. Based on the lantern the Boss carries, the Boss is probably based on Jack O' Lantern.
  • Forced Tutorial: The prologue in Volume 2.
  • Forged by the Gods: Hephaestus gives Lex his gem tiles.
  • Fractured Fairytale: Basically the name of Volume 2's first book.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Lex defeats him, mistaking him for Dracula.
  • Game Face: The witch in Volume 2 has a more grotesque face when attacking.
  • Genie in a Bottle: A plot point in the first game.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The Queen of Hearts from Volume 2. Though she's actually Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Good All Along: Dracula attempts to persuade Lex that he is not the villain and that they should team up against Codex, which Lex dismisses as ridiculous. The very next chapter reveals that he was telling the truth and that Codex is the true enemy.
  • The Grim Reaper: He falsely claims to Lex that Cassandra & Codex have died.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: The "Do you want to quit?" dialog box shows a sad-eyed Lex saying "Don't leave me!" and asks you if you can really refuse a cute face like that.
  • Hellhound: Cerberus.
  • The Hero: Lex.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice" The Magic Pen. After Lex beats the Machine, the Magic Pen greets him, explains that it's broken down the middle, and sacrifices itself to bring back the Great Library
  • Historical Domain Character: H. G. Wells in the sequel. Also Wong Fei-hung.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Polydamas is impaled with his own sword when defeated.
    • A bookburner in the sequel is set on fire.
    • A sword swallower gets stabbed with his own swords.
    • A pirate's head is blown off with his own cannon.
  • Inside a Computer System: Volume 2 has a Neuromancer- inspired chapter called "Virtually a World".
  • 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).
  • Last of His Kind: The manticore claims to be this. We don't know if he's telling the truth or not.
  • Literal Bookworm:
    • We have the titular bookworm Lex, who is an intelligent green bookworm with glasses and a red bowtie. The premise of the game is to feed Lex by creating words with the tiles given to you.
    • We also have Mirage Xel. Mirage Xel is an Evil Counterpart version of Lex (although Xel says Lex is the evil version) and also is real as a Hollywood Mirage. Xel is purple, wears a black tie and black pointy glasses, and he's the boss of Chapter 7 of Book 2 as the guardian of the Robe of the Unseen.
  • Living MacGuffin:
    • Cassandra in the first game.
    • As it turns out at the end of the second game, the Magic Pen can talk.
  • 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.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Dracula, though he dresses more like a Classical Movie Vampire.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: Dr. Frankenstein's castle.
  • The Medic: Mother Goose in Volume 2 (in terms of giving potions) and Cheshire Cat (for healing status ailments).
  • Medusa: The final boss of Oedipus Lex.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: You get shiny gem tiles when you form long-enough words, and you can use them in words to make them more powerful and damaging.
  • Mini-Game: Moxie's Minigame Hut.
  • The Mole: Maladin & Codex.
  • The Monolith: The first boss of Astounding Planet in Volume 2.
  • Monster Compendium: The Tome of Knowledge.
  • Mr. Exposition: In Volume 2, the Cheshire Cat explains otherwise illogical plot points, such as Lex breathing underwater with the Super Sutra and the spaceship flying itself.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Shaitan.
    • Although they can't really be used as arms, Bigger Brother in Volume 2 has multiple robotic arms with security cameras at the end.
  • Mummy: In addition to the Tomb of Ages containing plenty, Dracula has apparently employed one as one of his minions.
  • Name McAdjective: In the first game Lex calls Maladin "Mr. Tricky McTricksterman" when he tries to talk Lex out of taking the genie lamp.
  • Nature Spirit: Several in the first game.
  • Necromancer: An enemy in the first game.
  • New Game+: Adventure Replay in Volume 2 gives you access to all treasures & companions from the beginning.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Lex's quest to save Cassandra turns out to only have furthered the Big Bad's plans. Fortunately, he gets a final boss battle to set everything right.
    • Happens again in Volume 2. The reason why Bigger Brother's in control? Because when Lex went back in time to stop all of this, he dropped Codex's magic pen in the past!
  • Nintendo Hard: Although one could also say that it simply has a large amount of fake difficulty. Thankfully the developers were at least partly aware of this, see Death Is a Slap on the Wrist above.
  • Our Banshees Are Louder: And for some reason, they're in the Greek pantheon.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Two are encountered in the first game.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: The first monster Lex encounters in Dracula's castle.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: There's a wereram, a wereboar & a werehawk.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Lex is told that Cassandra and Codex are both dead, he loses all of his cheerful attitude and falls into despair. He grows so upset that he even says he wants to crawl into a hole and die.
  • Pirate: Lex fights a whole shipful. Amusingly, Sinbad didn't recognize them at first.
  • Plot Device: Prof. Codex's magic pen. More prominent in Volume 2.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: After fighting Volume 1's final boss, he asks Lex for his last words. Lex suggests "hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian", which is sufficient for a final Kamehame Hadoken.
    • Best part? It means 'about or pertaining to very long words'.
  • Prequel: According to Word of God, the game is this to 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.
  • Riddling Sphinx: See above.
  • RPG Elements: Most of the major ones are present.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: For some reason, Oedipus Lex (based on Classical Mythology) has krakens (Scandinavia), banshees (Ireland), griffins (Mesopotamia) and manticores (India).
    • The basilisk has taken on a variety of forms (including the cockatrice, an avian variant), but a six-legged reptile isn't one of them.
  • Sequel Hook: Volume 2 ends with "For now… The end!", although it was presently unknown whether or not there will be a third installment.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The second chapter of Book 5 sees Lex go up against five monks representing one of the sins- lust and envy get left out.
  • Shout-Out: There's a phantom interested in musical theater.
    • The names of several chapters don't even try to hide which works they were inspired by ("The Time Device" and "The Sound of Lightning", to name two of the better examples).
    • The final book of the first game is called Lexonomicon.
    • In the Dystopia chapter of Volume 2, we get shoutouts to Fahrenheit 451 (book burning) and 1984 (Bigger Brother and Thought Cop),
  • Shown Their Work: The sequel's Tome of Knowledge lists the literary inspiration for each enemy.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Mother Goose is Lex's only female companion in Volume 2.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • Bookworm Heroes, a defunct multiplayer mobile game, can be seen as this.
    • Letter Quest, a similar game which added a few more RPG elements.
  • Standard Sci Fi Setting: Astounding Planet from Volume 2 has extraterrestrials, mutants, future humans, robots, time travel, virtual beings and a dystopia.
  • Status Buff: Drinking a green potion increases the power of Lex's next word-based attack. However, enemies can also power themselves up.
  • Status Effects: Enemies can poison, stun, petrify, burn, cut, freeze and/or depower Lex, sometimes with 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.
  • Stealth Pun: Frankenstein's Castle is home to a multi-limbed monster named Parkerstein and Arnoldstein who would "do well in politics". The chapter title also suggests there's a light there.
  • Stewed Alive: In the second game Lex frees Mother Goose from the Big Bad Wolf's vegetable-filled cauldron.
  • Suddenly Voiced: In a sense. Lex is the only character with a voice we hear (as opposed to being limited to dialog boxes), but it's revealed at the end of Volume 2 that the Magic Pen can talk.
  • Surplus Damage Bonus: The game gives extra gem tiles for doing enough surplus damage.
  • Talking Animal: Every enemy, including animals, gets to spout puns and the like.
  • Technobabble: In Volume 2, Skeletrox is a literal example; until his defeat, he actually speaks in programming language (one of his first phrases is "IF Lexworm THEN destroy!").
  • Temple of Doom: Delphi in the first game and Temple Haunt in the second.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: After Lex receives Hephaestus's gift, he can gain bonus gem tiles if he finishes off an enemy with a much larger amount of damage than needed.
  • Time Travel: A plot point in Volume 2.
  • Trapped in Literature Land: Caused by rifts only the Magic Pen and its guardian can solve.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Professor Codex.
  • True Companions: Quite an impressive menagerie over the course of Volume 2.
  • Twist Ending: See The Reveal above.
  • Überwald: Lexonomicon being inspired by Dracula and Frankenstein.
  • Under the Sea: A chapter in Volume 2. Averted as the dynamics are exactly the same as the rest of the game. The Dragon King is fought underwater. Again, the dynamics are no different.
  • Unsound Effect: In the opening animation for the second game, Lex gets out of bed with an “Awaken!” effect.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Lex, during the "Graveyard of Lost Hopes" chapter, when he thinks Cassandra and Codex are dead. Seeing his heartbroken expression would have you want to win those levels to see him cheer up again.
  • The Voice: Queen Scheherazade for the vast majority of Arabian Knight.
  • The Watson: Lex.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Medusa at the end of Volume 1. If you've successfully beaten every enemy on the first try in the first part of the game, congratulations! With the experience you arrive at Medusa with and tithout the right defensive item, Medusa can petrify you and kill you from maximum hitpoints in a single turn.
  • We Can Rule Together: Dracula's offer in the first game.
  • Wham Line: "I have seen those names… on tombstones." Turns out he's wrong, but still.
  • When Trees Attack: The Tree Demon in Volume 2.
  • Wolf Man: One of the bosses.
  • 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!
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: The second-to-last chapter of Volume 2 is called "Worst Dystopia Ever".
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Previous Lex in Volume 2.