One of the most popular games for phones
February 21, 2023
About a year and a half ago I decided that I would start playing word games on my phone as a way of keeping my brain sharp. I hit upon one game which looked interesting. The game: Wordscapes.
According to the Infallible Wikipedia:
“The game overall is a mix of Boggle and crossword puzzles. To solve the puzzle, the player must find every word using the letters that are located in the circle at the bottom of the screen. There are anywhere from 3 to 7 letters in the circle, depending on the level being played. There are also bonus words, which the player can solve for extra coins. The game currently contains 6,000 levels and an infinite number of extra master levels that players can access after completing the first 6,000. The game publishes a daily puzzle for each day.”
So far, so good. I start playing the game and – between it and Wordle – it does what I want: help keep my brain sharp.
But then the Wordscapes people introduced a feature into the game called ‘Wildlife.’ Okay. This was a fun addition. A player earns points in the form of red gems -or ‘rubies’ as the players call them – with which they can hatch eggs and out will pop a cute animal. Did I mention that these animals dance, prance, eat, drink, and play? And that they are incredibly appealing with their big eyes and happy expressions? And that they give you extra boosters in the game?
I’m not a psychologist, but I’m pretty sure that in the testing done over the years they discovered that people – women particularly – are drawn to cute animals with big imploring eyes.
So more than solving the word puzzles, I became interested in collecting all the digital animals. Kind of like Pokemon Go but without having to go outside and the critters were actually cute. Some were easier to collect than others, of course, and by the time the hubby and I flew to Puerto Vallarta to meet up with our son in November 2022, I had all but about five or six of the animals. As hard as I tried I could not seem to get two of the animals which gave the most rubies and best boosters: the Lion or the Anteater.
On the first day in Puerto Vallarta, I’m playing my daily dose of Wordscapes when my son sees it and I tell him about the game. Well! He thought it looked interesting and loaded it on his phone too.
It was only then we learned that the cute Wildlife game was, apparently, a Beta test feature only available to some. It was a bitter pill for my son to swallow: only Mom was getting animals.
Undeterred, my son took on playing Wordscapes the same way he takes on pretty much everything he’s interested in: obsessively. And he was determined to get to the same point level as me. (I was somewhere in the 5000’s then)
We had been back from Mexico for a few weeks when I get the message from my son that, suddenly, the Wildlife feature was now available to him too. Of course he started collecting right away but was frustrated by not getting any of the ‘good’ animals.
For me, however, disaster struck in December when I had to get a new phone… and all my collection disappeared. Despite requesting the restoration of my animals, the Wordscapes people wouldn’t do it but did give me 15,000 coins so I could accelerate rebuilding. Gone were my Elephant and Quetzal, my two Epic animals. It was back to square one.
But there was a silver lining. Now my son and I were on the same footing and began sharing back and forth which animal we had gotten on a particular day. I decided not spend the 15,000 coins but earned my way back by playing the game and building up the points.
My son and I built spreadsheets and took screen shots; we evaluated each animal to determine which were best for particular tasks. We saved up our rubies so as to only purchase the eggs which produce the four Epic animals we most desired: Anteater, Quetzal, Elephant, and Lion
I got back my Elephant and Quetzal. I finally got an Anteater on January 7. My son got a Lion and an Elephant and, just two days ago, the Quetzal hatched for him. But he is still in search of the elusive Anteater.
As of today, still no Lion for me. I have vowed to only open the red eggs which have the possibility of a Lion. Until I get it, no other eggs (blue, green, purple) are allowed to be hatched even though I am far from having a complete set of critters.
But that’s okay. The fun is in the pursuit and in playing the game with my son. I even got the hubby in on it as we were driving home from a weekend trip Sunday afternoon. I’d tell him the letters of the main word and he helped me solve the puzzles as he drove, calling out words to try. Not only did it accelerate solving each puzzle, it was a fun way to pass the miles.
The red egg – the one which MIGHT produce the elusive Lion – will be available in 4 hours and 15 minutes. By my calculations I have enough ‘rubies’ to be able to open 16 eggs. Yes, I’m that insane. Wish me luck!
UPDATE: As you can imagine, I usually write these the day before they publish. I couldn’t wait until today to see about my eggs. Sadly, no Lion. But here’s what DID hatch. I’ll get a couple more tries before the red egg goes away for another week or so… who knows, maybe I might just get my lucky Lion.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2849657081808319 – where the crazies are… I’m tame compared to some of these folks.