|System: DS, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 6, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Split Decision shows players a word on the top screen and they must use the touch screen to quickly scroll either left or right to read definitions and determine which one matches. It's a fast-paced game since only one of the two answers is right. Pasta Letters gives you a definition and then has you using the stylus to fish around in a bowl of alphabet soup to unscramble the corresponding word by lining the letters up along the rim. Word Shuffle presents you with a handful of cutout words on the touch screen and a series of definitions on the top screen.
You'll have to examine each definition and place the proper missing word in. Block Letters resembles Tetris since letter blocks will periodically fall from the sky and you must activate the blocks to spell words from the day's list. In Safecracker, you're given a definition and you must spell the word by turning a safe dial with the stylus. At the end of each game, a word review list shows you the words you just played through and gives you the proper definitions for any you missed along the way. Also, missed words will be reshuffled to a higher priority for the day as a means of ensuring players have plenty of opportunity to finally get them right. A helpful built-in glossary allows you enter in a word and locate its definition immediately.
Though the games are simple they rarely get dull from day-to-day as harder words are introduced. You may breeze through a particular challenge one day only to find it significantly more difficult the next due to the introduction of unfamiliar vocabulary terms. Also, each game has different difficulty settings which can be unlocked as you progress. On a higher difficulty, new play mechanics are thrown in such as having to blow into the microphone to keep letters from sinking in Pasta Letters or being given the definition first and having to then select the proper word associated with it in Split Decision. The need for accuracy and a constant time constraints add a fun tension to the game which might otherwise drag if it was simply a matter of figuring things out at your leisure. Also, you're encouraged to rest for the day once you've met your daily quota. If you continue playing the same game over and over again in a given day, eventually the points earned will stop going towards your expression potential. A variety of tools also allow you to visually chart your progress each day or over a longer period of time.
The game is easily accessible to players with all different vocabulary ability levels, but it won't have any qualms about showing you just how much you need to improve. You may not get major results overnight - My Word Coach emphasizes a slow-and-steady approach to let new terms soak in - although you'll find yourself steadily learning new terms (and perhaps even getting a better grasp on the ones you may use already). My Word Coach is an excellent pick up and play casual game that makes learning vocabulary a blast. The constant drive to meet your daily quote and hopefully increase your expression potential also has a pleasant side effect. Who would have thought playing video games could make you smarter?
CCC Freelance Writer