Lateral


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JohnBlateral.gifI'm thinking of a nine letter word. That word is kind of connected to some sort of plant. It's also related to an igloo. Give up? Knew you would! It's a treehouse, and now that you know the answer, you're probably slapping your forehead because it was sooo obvious, wasn't it? This sort of "connect the dots" thinking is what Lateral: The Word Association Game is all about.

Each level is made up of a web of words connected with lines that indicate a relationship. Your job is to guess the hidden words by determining what that relationship could be. For example, if the words "fish" and "cat" are connected to a seven letter mystery word, you could assume the answer would be "catfish". The connections are rarely that obvious, of course, but it's that sort of thinking that will get you through the game.

The main game comes with a handful of carefully crafted levels unlocked by guessing special words marked with stars. There's also a custom level editor you can play around with, and it's one of the game's most entertaining features. Creating your own stages is as easy as typing a few words and sliding connection boxes around. Well over 300 user-created puzzles are ready to play from the main menu, and that number is always growing. Some are quite a bit more "lateral" than others, but you'll have a great time picking through them all the same.

Lateral's strength is its ability to get your brain out of that one track mode it's usually in, but sometimes the lateral thinking is a bit too lateral and you have to resort to guessing. There's no hint system, so if you're stuck, you're stuck, and straining your brain to uncover the connection between items doesn't always yield rewards.

Regardless of its slightly random, obscure nature, Lateral is a great word game that encourages you to think outside of the box. Way, way outside! And if you enjoy this kind of word game, be sure to give Funny Farm a try!

Play Lateral

50 Comments

Vogonviking Author Profile Page February 25, 2010 10:42 AM

I'm just getting the "loading" screen. Frustrating! :(

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Either I'm an idiot, or I'm thinking about this way too hard. I barely scraped through to the second level and, having gotten a few obvious answers knocked out, am now stuck. Anybody who's breezing through this: this would be the perfect game for a hint-through. :-)

Has anybody worked out the less-obvious number conventions? On the second level, for example, I have the number-clue "10-1.1." What does that mean?

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Good game, but it can be pretty challenging, most of the the user levels are easier

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Heh, I answered my own question. For anybody still wondering the same:

The word is coming off "pentagon," and you're looking for the name of an associated city. Re-imagine "pentagon" as "Pentagon."

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Meh, impossible! I'm really stuck on the shapes one.

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Great idea for a game, but I feel hints are definitely needed. Even if they were in some sort of hangman minigame type thing. Associations were sometimes a bit of a jump, I had to read some comments in a few places for what they were looking for.

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very difficult game. i can't even get the answers with the internet to help me!

the boxes with more than one number:

are multiple words, with each word of the stated size, in the stated order. so "5-6" is "Times Square"

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Level 2 is quite ameri-centric. I suspected as much after I managed to uncover a couple of the words.

After getting completely stuck I found a spoiler somewhere, and was dismayed to realise that completing the level fairly would have required me to more familiar with USA-ian culture (landmarks and governmental structures) than it's fair to expect a non USA-ian to be...

Great idea though, and I think I'll create my own level:)

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Too hard! I'm stuck on level 2, some hints would be helpful. Possibly more links between the words would make the game a bit more reasonable, although this would be harder to implement.

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I'm currently on a Mac iBook G4 and the bubble are empty and well devoid of words (even in the root menu) when I load the game. I can still click around and do things, just I can't see any words in the bubble. I've tried several other hosting sites for the game but the result is the same. Anyone who knows how to play a word game without words give me a heads up.

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I played this yesterday after it was on Lazylaces. I love it! Just like Funny Farm, but better.

I got on the higscore list for the week. Was 14th and 15th for stars and guesses, respecitvely, for the week. Not sure if that stands, but it was fun.

Never could finish... Oh well.
Here's a good guide on ALL the words if you get stuck: http://www.kongregate.com/forums/3/topics/67104

And here's my level (it's long, and has puntuation that for some reason isn't shown, so be prepared): http://www.kongregate.com/games/zdbzd/lateral-the-word-association-game?user-level=80103

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I definitely feel this is the weakest link of the word association games. It's involving, sure, but it doesn't offer the same freedom as Funny Farm or even iAssociate on the iPhone. Still, it's a nice distraction from life.

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I think the game has an interesting notion of trying to intersect what appears to be random items like a square and a circle, but the lack of any sort of clues leaves you guessing at random words semi associated. If there were some sort of additional clue based system other than "square" next word is 4 characters then it might turn out to be a decent game. Other than that, it's not worth the time guessing random 4 letter words possibly associated with square.

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Ick. Funny Farm was one of my favourites so I was excited about this, but it's no fun at all. It's far too hard, and having to start again after each level eliminates the sense of gradual progress you got with FF.

I think the problem is it doesn't have any 'freebies' to help you. Funny Farm had words that you knew you were aiming for, Lateral seems to involve a lot more stabbing in the dark.

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Without some sort of clue/hint system the game is virtually unplayable. I gave up after a few minutes of thinking of words that relate to "cat" and "dog". Perhaps showing the first letter of each word would make it palatable.

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agreed.
this game is waaaaaay to difficult for its own good.
needs hint system.

6/10

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What keeps happening to the walkthrough? Weird...

Anyways, completed it, with a bit of "connecting" help from said walkthrough.

[If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to read our site policies regarding posting comments. In there you will find that we do not allow you to copy/paste walkthroughs from other sites here. If you wish to write your own walkthrough, however, then we will be very grateful. -Jay]

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Bob Montgomery February 25, 2010 1:36 PM

Level One solution:

Pets

Bird

Rabbit

Dog

Dogfish

Fish

Dogfish

Catfish

Cat

Catfish

Mouse

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@Jay
Ah, didn't know that.
Well, that walkthrough is probably the easiest way make it, so just go there.

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I'm with darmuid. It's too USA centric for my liking.

Shame, coz I loved Funny Farm.

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MmeTurbulence Author Profile Page February 25, 2010 2:06 PM

Nice concept, but as other commenters have said, some of the links are too obscure.

For example

The whole net around Homer Simpson is impossible to solve if you aren't of the right generation to have watched the simpsons

And I'm very irked that 3-5 connected to "red" and "bus" isn't "Red Arrow," which is clearly the most obvious association

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A bit difficult a game if you aren't american. Bit of a shame.

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I agree that the original game isn't all that fun, but some of the user levels are great! Kudos to whoever made the Pokemon one. My little sister's home sick so we're racing to see who can name them all first!

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This game succeeded in making me play Funny Farm again.

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I agree with what others have said; too tough and a bit Ameri-centric.

(Although having said that, it's amusing that Level 3 - the most Ameri-centric of the ones I've got to, IMO - expects you to know that a Scottish celebrity chef once played for Glasgow Rangers...)

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... the game succeeded in making me play Funny Farm for the first time! :-)

Agree with the comunity, and I'm glad I'm not alone feeling not bright becouse I don't know, and can not know so good, and don't want to no so good all of the U.S.A.-only stuff in the game.

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The problem is that most of the challenging words are "leaf" nodes with only one connected word.

Which is really not great:

- 5-letter word related to "square"

Compared to the really interesting part of the game which is the CROSSOVER part where there are two words which are both related:

- word related to "cat" and "fish"

I'm going to try the user levels and see if they focus on that part more.

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Bob Montgomery February 25, 2010 5:00 PM

If you can get past Level 2 (shapes) then they aren't nearly so USA-centric.

And honestly, it doesn't seem any more arbitrary/obscure than Funny Farm to me.

General hint:

A large majority of the connections are simply reusing and rearranging the same word:
Color goes to

pink
Which goes to

Pretty in Pink which goes to

Pretty Woman

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Bob Montgomery February 25, 2010 5:16 PM

Level Two solution:

shapes

hexagon

octagon

square

Madison Square Garden

New York

Times Square

Washington D.C.

Times Square

New York

Madison Square Garden

Washington D.C.

dance

hip hop

rap

ice cube

cube

ice cube

rap

hip hop

hip hop

dance

rap

Arctic Circle

Bermuda Triangle

triangle

Bermuda Triangle

Arctic Circle

ellipse

circle

oval

circle

Arctic Circle

oval

ellipse

oval

ellipse

circle

Oval Office

government

White House

Washington D.C.

government

Washington D.C.

pentagon

government

military

White House

Oval Office

military

government

Washington D.C.

New York

Times Square

Madison Square Garden

White House

Oval Office

government

Side note: It is pretty difficult to write a progressive solution to these things.

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Funny Farm was amazing, this one was kind of... meh. It was too straightforward and too obscure at the same time.

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Am I stupid because I can't get a single star word in the sports level? Nothing works, I've tried everything that has even the remotest chance of making sense.

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Someone's posted the link to the walkthrough in the comments on Kongregate, so check it out there. This game is impossibly hard without it - yeah, you think outside the box, but you'll probably have to think miles outside the box to get all the answers. Plus, an even worse problem: some of the words are misspelled... (e.g. "Caymen" and "superheros" - which, though apparently Firefox accepts as valid, is not a word)

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Chiktionary Author Profile Page February 25, 2010 10:17 PM

Ah, I was stuck on the shapes level not realising that I had to think of American landmarks to complete it (thnx Bob Montgomery :}).

I definitely agree with all of the above who feel that a hint system would make the game more playable. And being a non-American, I also agree it's too Ameri-centric. In saying that, I wouldn't like to play an online game that only contained information about my country. I prefer games that have universal appeal.

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The problem isn't that it's USA-centric; I'm american and probably never would have guessed "Times Square" from just the word "square." There are so many things associated with something as generic as a shape that without any sort of context clue other than word length, I don't even see how this game is playable. Did anyone seriously guess "circle?" --> "Arctic circle"?

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I know I am not a native english speaker, but I am definite that a "cube" is not a "shape". Sorry.

When I meet such a blatant mistake so early in the game I quickly lose steam to play further.

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And yes, the game expects some ludicruos leaps of lateral thinking. Giving two seemingly unconnected words and having to find one that relates to both of them is a fun puzzle. Having one word and just a number of letters in the next one without any additional context is simply an exercise in frustration. "Circle" -> "Arctic Circle"? Why not "Circle" - "Tic-tac-toe" then?

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Mina Grentham Author Profile Page February 26, 2010 8:49 AM

The lack of any hints other than word length is a turn-off for me. I think it worked better for Funny Farm because a) collaboration was encouraged, and b) there didn't seem to be as many words that were only connected to one other word -- as someone above mentioned, the interesting part is when you're trying to guess a word that connects two or more other words.

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What an awful game. "Guess what the author was thinking", combined with American-centrism and absurd leaps. The user levels don't seem much better. Such a pity, because the concept could have worked, sort of.

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The main challenge in adapting your thinking to this game is that you have to work your way out, but also quickly abandon previous associations with the words. It's a toughy.

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"Don't Mess With Texas"

How the **** is anyone outside the US going to stumble across that? Since when did lateral thinking have such heavy cultural bias?

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I agree with what has been said already. This game is frustrating beyond belief(especially for us non-americans), particularly once you get to level 4 and it demands 5 word answers of you that you have no hope in the world of getting.

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I live in the US and this is proving to be difficult. Hint system would make this game hundred times better.

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could someone help me
it's difficult
i'm stuck at the sports one

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nerdypants Author Profile Page February 28, 2010 1:08 PM

I am really floundering on the sports one. The ironic thing is that I work at a radio station devoted to sports.

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nerdypants Author Profile Page February 28, 2010 1:47 PM

Okay, this is ridiculous. I finally had to cheat on that sports one.

Paris Hilton? Really? The only hint we were given for her was "a celebrity with five letters in their first name and six letters in their last". It could've been any number of people. Not to mention that she has nothing to do with sports.

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Kristina March 1, 2010 8:48 PM

I dunno guys, I'm on the last level, and this is SO much fun. I was playing with a friend, and we were having so much fun figuring out all the stuff, even if they're tricky and sometimes not too obvious (at all). That just makes it WAY more exciting when you actually get an answer!

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baba44713 said:

I know I am not a native english speaker, but I am definite that a "cube" is not a "shape". Sorry.

When I meet such a blatant mistake so early in the game I quickly lose steam to play further.

A cube is indeed a shape. Are you perhaps thinking that shapes are only two-dimensional? Wikipedia entry on Cube.

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Anonymous March 13, 2010 5:22 PM

the color one, level 4, turns into a movie one...very difficult but i finished it!

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im american and i had to look at these to figure it out. this game is way to confusing

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nerdypants Author Profile Page October 27, 2011 11:15 PM

AUGH. I thought I'd try playing this game again... it's horrible. It's impossible to finish if you get everything right, because some of the answers are wrong. For instance, in level five:

Connecting islands and banks is

Caymen. Except that the correct spelling is Cayman. If you try to put in the correct spelling (which I did, several times), there is no reaction.

Funny Farm is so much better than this it's ridiculous.

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