Of all the people at PopCap who could write about Bookworm Heroes today, I might very well be the worst choice. Why? Because, as of right now, my win-loss record is about as bad as the Florida Marlins (and if you’re not a baseball fan, here’s how popular they are in their own hometown).
The reason for my poor record is that, like the Marlins, I lack the talent and strategy to beat my opponents. Unlike the Marlins, however, there is nothing for me to do about the “talent” part. The Marlins could spend a ton of money to buy better players. Me? No amount of money is going to make me any smarter. I’m stuck with my own stupidity. But I can get better at the strategy of Bookworm Heroes. And the game does have tons of strategy. Which is why, even while I’m sucking at it, I’m having so much fun.
So since I’ve just spent two paragraphs emphasizing my lack of skill at the game, I am now not going to offer my tips to you. The only tip I really have is “don’t listen to tips from me.” This will at least ensure you don’t get slaughtered.
What I can do, however, is provide you with a rundown of the game’s heroes — who they are, and what they’re good for. Because it’s right there in the title of the game. This isn’t just about being good at Bookworm. It’s about knowing who the heroes are, how to use them, what their signature tiles and ultimate skills are, and when to use each. If I’d only read something like what I’m about to write before playing my first game, I might have sucked like .00001 percent less. Here’s hoping it does the same for you.
(And by the way, if you haven’t played the game since launch, you should know that we now feature a different hero for free each week, and you can also buy each hero permanently for a one-time cost, which I’ll list below.)
LEX (25,000 coins)
The hero we all know and love. The star of every previous version of Bookworm. Lex’s signature tile is the Apple Tile. This tile, when used in a word, will replenish a little bit of your health. Lex’s ultimate skill is also health related, granting you bonus health for each 3 or 4 letter word you create. Needless to say, Lex is best for defensive players. You get no extra attack bonuses with him but you will have a much better chance of hanging in longer — and making your opponent have to fight harder to win.
HAMLET (60,000 coins)
Alas poor Hamlet! First he’s haunted by his own father, now he’s stuck making words forever in a video game. He gets his revenge, though. For one, his signature tile is the Inky Tile, in which he sprays random tiles on your opponent’s board with ink, rendering them unusable for one turn. Though this isn’t a huge deal at the beginning of the game, it can be crucial at the end, especially in a close game when every point (and letter) matters. Hamlet’s ultimate skill, fittingly enough for English lit nerds, is called Sweet Revenge, which, when used wisely, can strike your opponent as brutally as (spoiler alert!) Claudius gets it in the end. With Sweet Revenge, you are challenged to spell a word with a higher point count than your opponent played on his last turn. Do so, and those points of his are added to yours for a devastating attack. Great for those with big vocabularies or cheaters using a dictionary.
RAZOR (90,000 coins)
Like Keanu Reeves, Razor can, like, totally hack into the Matrix (that is, your opponent’s board) for brutal attacks. She’s also purple, just to be extra cool. Razor’s signature tile is the Cyber Tile, which grants huge point bonuses for shorter words. The catch, however, is that those tiles cannot be used at all in words longer than 5 letters. This is great if you’re like me, or Keanu, and tend to not use words longer than, say, “whoa” on a daily basis. Razor’s ultimate skill is Hack & Spell, which not only lets you make longer words, but also lets you do it with tiles stolen from your opponent’s board. My personal favorite of all the hero skills, Hack & Spell can often be the single strongest offensive attack in the game, especially when used in conjunction with special tiles.
POLYPHEMUS (60,000 coins)
If you know what this name is referencing, then congratulations, you are a somewhat educated person. Me? I had to look it up on Wikipedia. Apparently, Polyphemus was the one-eyed son of Poseidon and Thoosa, and also the big cyclops that Odysseus meets in Homer’s Odyssey. It’s kind of a bummer to me that I didn’t remember this, given that I took a semester class specifically on that book, but, hey, whaddya gonna do? I was probably playing pinball during most of those lectures. In any case, here in this game, Polyphemus is also kind of a beast. His signature tile is the Smashed Tile, in which he pounds on your opponent’s tiles, lowering their point value. Polyphemus will keep doing this throughout the game, rendering your opponent’s board a wasteland of lower point values, making it much harder to score high-point words. Likewise, his ultimate skill is Tile Driver, which will smash tiles and lower their value four times in a row, possibly crushing tiles down to zero, exploding them and smashing adjacent tiles. Overall, a great hero to use against those with big vocabularies.
This is a mere overview of the heroes. This is not enough to grant you a victory, for which I am sorry. What you also need to know is which hero to counter with when you’ve been challenged, as well as which pet to pick to effectively tag team. These are subjects for another day, written by another person. But I do hope that even this superficial overview helps you understand one of the game’s fundamentals. Bookworm Heroes is more complex than it looks. The more you dive in, the better you’ll get. But knowing the heroes is important! Don’t just pick Lex every time because he’s cute. Cute only gets you so far in life. Believe me, I found that out the hard way.