Tell me friends, has your casual gaming experience lost its pep? Feeling run down? Have you felt the dull drudgery of endless Tower Defense or Canabalt offshoots? Then let me introduce you to this new and compelling casual word game! What is this lexicographic marvel, you may ask yourself? What's so compelling about it? Why should I play it today? Well friends, this game, in its neatly-packaged Flash window, is none other than Moxie 2 with a capital M, that rhymes with N, that stands for New!
Made with only the finest Flash ingredients, Moxie 2 is the browser-based sequel to Moxie, the iPhone app that was originally featured in one of our Mobile Monday articles. Moxie 2 feels like a mix of Scrabble Slam! and solitaire and has a simple premise: Create words of 3 to 6 letters from a random assortment of 64 multi-valued letters to score points. Form new words by adding or replacing letters on the board (such as using the 'S' to change 'GAME' to 'GAMES' or 'SAME'), while avoiding invalid words ("Twaddles") that make you lose points. For extra bonus points, you can try to form special "Moxie Words" based on various themes (animal, vegetable, or mineral) for the round, or you can play without Moxie Words for greater challenge.
Moxie 2 has several new improvements over its predecessor. Along with a more streamlined, woodcut interface, the game now supports up to 6-letter words instead of 5, 64 letters per game, and has a useful undo feature. You can also see a list of what letters are still left before placing Moxie words, as well as the list of Moxie words themselves. Perhaps the biggest inclusion, however, is the Daily Challenge feature, which starts you off with three pre-set words that change every day. The developers at Blue Ox are also planning on implementing a global high score list for Daily Challenges, like they do for the game's iPhone version.
Analysis: Despite such a simple concept, Moxie 2 has surprisingly deep gameplay for a word solitaire game, and an addictive quality to boot. At its surface, there's the fun challenge of just placing down as many letters as possible to form legal words of greater and greater length, and this is addictive enough. Getting the really high scores (and bragging rights), however, involves the calculated use of Moxie words, which earn between 100 and 500 points (versus normal words which average around 20-100). Careful players can plan for certain high-value Moxies, relying on the "Letters Left" button to see what is still possible, and this depth (encouraged by no time limit) leads to much gaming satisfaction.
Ultimately, Moxie 2 is light and refreshing, with little or no aftertaste. My one gripe is not knowing what Moxie words are best to attempt in a given situation, forcing me to flip back and forth between the Moxie Words page and the letter screen. Perhaps future iterations of Moxie could include a real-time "cheat sheet" of Moxie words, always visible based on what letters are currently on the table. Despite this, the game's satisfying quality is something fans of word games will definitely want to come back to. So what are you waiting for, friends? Try your Moxie 2 today!