Beat your rival train to the station in this fast-paced word formation game for PC. All aboard!
- Addictive word formation
- Specify difficulty and maximum word length before levels
- Two amazing game modes
- Simple controls and user interface
- Flaming letters offer chances for more points
- Bonus levels for swift completion
- Shuffle button was not that useful
Text Express is a free puzzle game for PC, developed by Gamehouse, in which you must go head to head against other trains and beat them to the station using words as fuel. The game is avaiable here are a trial version only. The full version is available externally.
Core Gameplay and Features
Text Express offers a unique approach to puzzle solving by providing the player with an opportunity to improve their skills at word formation and recognition while under increasingly difficult time constraints. The general idea is nothing new, but the game implements it quite well.
Gameplay is pretty straight forward. Before setting off, you can choose from one of three difficulty settings as well as the maximum length of the words you will be given. You are cast as a red train, chugging along the tracks. The problem is that you're low on fuel and are in danger of running out. The main objective of the game is to keep your train fueled and beat your rival blue train to the next station. If you run out of fuel, your train will stop. If your blue companion beats you to the punch, you will have to start the level again. To keep your train moving, you will need to form words and use them as "coal" to fuel the train. While short words will give you a small boost, longer words will earn you more points and keep you going much longer. Form an incorrect sequence of letters and the game will highlight the letters for you. This will cost you valuable time.
The user interface for the game displays a rectangular window containing your train moving along the tracks in parallel with your blue opponent, rows of letter spaces and a set of letters to choose from. The rows of spaces represent all possible words that can be made from a particular set of letters as well as the length of the words. On the right-hand side if you have your coal burner which will reward you with points when filled, a pressure meter which indicates your speed, and a Score and Level counter. Controls are simple point-and-click, with some animations when words are formed.
A flaming letter will also appear in your bottom bar on occasion. Using this quickly to form a word will provide an even bigger boost to your train's speed than normal - but an appropriate word is not always easy to find
Playing the game well equates to forming the longest words possible in the shortest amount of time. If it's a matter of keeping up with your blue train in the short term, a short burst of acceleration might do the trick. If you want to catch up to him quickly, a longer word is needed. Longer words offer a better score, higher speeds and will last far longer. Perform well enough in a level and you might even beat the all time high score. If you are having particular difficulty thinking of a word, the 'Shuffle' button will allow you to rearrange the letters available to you, thereby enabling you to see words you had not thought of. Although a useful enough feature, a once-per-level hint system would have been more preferable. A flaming letter will also appear in your bottom bar on occasion. Using this quickly to form a word will provide an even bigger boost to your train's speed than normal - but an appropriate word is not always easy to find.
Other Modes and Features
In addition to Classic Mode, explained above, we also have Action Mode, a kind of 'time trial' in which you test your word-forming skills against the clock and try to form the biggest words possible in the shortest amount of time. Work too slowly and the opposing train will be victorious. If you manage to finish a level in under two minutes, the game also offers a Bonus Mode, which offers you even more opportunities to formulate words and earn points.
Graphics, Visuals and Sound
Graphics are quite cute and presented in an animated style, with bright colors, black lines and simple texturing for buildings, the trains and the surrounding environment. The UI is placed on a simple dark blue background with no outstanding graphical features or animations. The coal burner is a nice touch, adding a sense of intensity to gameplay when you're piling in the coal.
Text Express is a great way to learn new words and to test your speed at forming them. Choose from three difficulty settings, two unique game modes and the maximum length of words to offer a real challenge. Finish levels quickly, keep up with your rival train, and you will unlock bonus levels offering you the chance to score even more points. Other features including the shuffle button and the flaming letter features offer additional help during levels, but the 'Shuffle' button in particular did not appear to help that much. The game offers a 30-minute trial to download for first time players, but if you're interested in purchasing the game it can be done from the developer's website. All in all Text Express is a fun and fast-paced word formation game and well worth checking out.