Year Made: 2014
Platforms: Windows, Mac OS, iPad
Content Areas: Technology
Suggested Age Level: Middle School, High School
Play Length: 7.5 hours
Number of Players: Single Player
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Being able to type quickly is a much-needed skill for a number of careers and even projects completed in college and at the high school level. Right now, I’m using my ability to type without looking at the keys to type faster while my eyes look for mistakes to edit. I didn’t learn to type in my computer class from middle school though. The most our class learned was how to sneak peeks under our orange keyboard covers and type that way. However, in a game like Dylan Loney’s Words for Evil, players can’t afford to take the time to search for keys on the keyboard, because taking too long means the difference between victory and defeat.
The story of Words for Evil is fairly straightforward: evil spread through the land, the power of words fight the creatures, and the heroes level up and triumph as they unlock more words and type quicker. Typing becomes your greatest weapon as you swiftly unlock attacks and defend yourself against attacks from monsters. There are sixteen unique heroes with their own abilities and eighty four different creatures to face. Along with the basic word search in combat, players also evade traps by eliminating letters, avoids death by solving anagrams, and loot chests by finding what letters create a word. With such a vast dictionary, even the most well-versed in English will learn new vocabulary and will be sure to remember it again if it can mean ensuring victory.
Words for Evil forces students to learn to type fast, starting with smaller words and building players up to type larger ones for more powerful attacks. The variety of games keeps the adventure interesting, and the level randomizes each playthrough, so players never know what’s up next. The game is also accessible to a variety of students, including a colorblind mode that makes the colors pop more so they stand out compared to the other blocks. Loney’s game turns typing into a fast-paced adventure that students won’t want to look away from.
There are a few downsides to keep in mind if playing Words for Evil in a class and both have to do with its massive dictionary. First, students can actually spell out words that are inappropriate in school setting, but it happens so quickly and so infrequently that if students attempt to focus solely on that, they will surely lose the game. Second, the dictionary is so massive that in games such as the anagrams, it sometimes boils down to trial and error to figure out what word the game intends. At times, this made the revival mechanic a bit frustrating, but overall, all it led to was learning new words and focusing on improving my characters’ stats, so they wouldn’t fall in battle in the first place.
Words for Evil fits perfectly into a computer skills or typing class. By the end of the game, students will improve their knowledge of where the letters are on the keyboard, their speed and efficiency, and their vocabulary. All of these skills not only help in a technology class, but can also help students in their other subjects as well.
Overall, Words for Evil turns a topic that most students need to know in a 21st century workplace into an adventure that students will embark on as novices and leave as experts with a whole team of heroes and an arsenal of words behind them.
Educational Rating: 6/8
(Classroom Tech Friendly, Motivation, Concrete Learning, Additional Skills, Feedback, Difficulty, Accessibility, Extension)
Overall Rating: 6/8
(Immersion, Environment, Storyline, Replayability, Entertainment, Gameplay, Originality, User Control)