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Words With Dawkins: Synonymy Released

A wonky port of word puzzling fun

Here's a thing: if you can, I think you should play Synonymy on a pocket telephone rather than your PC. I have enjoyed playing the word puzzle game for a bit, bending the meaning of synonyms to connect words, but it's clearly designed for touchy-pressy mobile things and doesn't come off too well on PC. Handily, a $1.99 (£1.25) purchase on gets you Windows, iOS, and Robot versions. It's still enjoyable on PC, mind, but the rough edges are a bit frustrating.

The game: Synonymy will pluck a starting word from its dictionary at random and another to reach through synonyms - from "dislocate" to "accurate", for example. It'll list synonyms for your current word, and you need to play with their fuzzy edges to reach your goal. I went: dislocate; reposition; alter; tweak; refine; hone; polish; perfect; accurate. (Tip: it doesn't differentiate between verb and adjective and so on as long as it's the same collection of letters. Signifier not sign, yeh?)

As someone wot likes words, I'm enjoying puzzling and planning. It gets quite tricky when you realise you took a wrong turn a few steps ago and need to find a way back.

The technical side: it runs in a window that's the same resolution as your desktop, but window borders mean it's too large and you need to maximise the window every time you load it. Some actions require you to hold down a mouse button, because it's clearly designed for fingers. The menus are controlled by WASD, because they were made for swiping. For some reason, it doesn't have a mode that throws puzzle after puzzle at you, making you specifically start a new game each time. The leaderboards seem to lack a useful way to compare anything.

These aren't massive issues by themselves, but all together they bug me.

Anyway, here's a trailer/the tutorial. Yes, that is Richard Dawkins narrating. No, I'm not sure why the Richard Dawkins Foundation is involved either. Don't worry: he doesn't talk while you're playing.

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