Ubisoft's board game train ain't showing any signs of slowing, with Boggle the latest passenger on the quality time carriage. A popular pastime originally designed by Allan Turoff in the early 70s, the tabletop title works a little like a word search whereby you can snake between different letters, as long as you can find a way to connect them all together. Straightforward stuff, then, but a decent vocabulary work-out all the same.
Being a digital recreation, Frima Studio's take on the vocabulary voyage include some extra modifiers that you can employ. You can spice things up by incorporating points multipliers, for example, which will reward you for building words around a specific letter – or you can test yourself with character ban, which prevents you from using a given letter for a set period of time. You can employ the standard rules, too, of course.
There are local co-op and versus options for up to two people, where you either work together or compete against a friend on a shared board. You can also take the action online and play four-player match-ups over the web, but despite our best efforts throughout the course of writing this review, we couldn't find a single person to challenge. This is likely due to a low playerbase, so if you're planning to play online, make sure that you know someone who owns the game.
Whichever way you play, the gameplay itself is fine, but it does delve into lexicon ludicrousy at times. While you should have no trouble finding common three or four letter words, the game over screen showing all of the terms that you missed will be eye-opening. Words like 'tolan' – a crystalline, water-insoluble, solid, unsaturated compound, apparently – and 'yod' – allegedly the tenth and smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet – will inevitably leave you scratching your head.
This is par for the course for word games, though, and is not a criticism per se. The controls are much more of an issue, which don't seem brilliantly suited to the diagonal selections that you'll need to make. This is the kind of title that's perfectly suited to a touchscreen, but doesn't map quite as well to a DualShock 4. It's also annoying that content – such as entire modes or wallpapers – are locked behind Ubisoft's garbage meta-currencies such as Uplay.
In fact, the fact that there's so little here in the first place makes it feel like the French publisher's rubbing salt in the wounds. Outside of the core game and a daily board – which, unsurprisingly, changes every day – there's nothing to this. All of the extra content – different dice, different frames – need to be obtained outside of the game, which leaves the core package feeling incredibly light. We wouldn't mind, but it's charging a whopping £11.99 for the privilege of playing this. It is slightly more affordable in the US at $9.99, but still too steep.
Boggle's a fine word game that, despite some less than optimal controls, has been re-purposed for the PlayStation 4 reasonably well here. However, with so little content on offer – and Ubisoft locking many of the game's unlocks behind its many meta-currencies – this doesn't represent value for money at all. As part of a larger, more cost-effective compilation, this would have been a decent addition – but instead you have a mind bogglingly expensive minigame, which only the most dedicated of wordsmiths should consider.