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Joystiq hands-on: My Word Coach (Wii, DS)

Ross Miller

Will Ubisoft's My Word Coach, a more linguistically-oriented Brain Age, find an audience? We hope so; as edugaming titles go, this was certainly one of the more enjoyable entries.

The differences between the DS and Wii versions are minimal: the DS has two extra "recreational" games, whereas five of Wii's minigames support multiplayer (the DS only has two). There are six "core" (i.e. education-centric) games of three difficulty levels apiece. The recreational games are also beneficial, as exposure to words helps retention, according to senior designer Peter Yang.

Gallery: My Word Coach (DS) | 6 Photos

Gallery: My Word Coach (Wii) | 0 Photos


Some of the minigames we tried out:
  • Missing letter, where you write the letter blanked out of the word.
  • Split decisions: you're given a word and two decisions and have to decide which of them (or neither) is correct.
  • Block letters, a DS-only recreational minigame where you must destroy letter tiles falling into a well by using them to spell out one of the listed words.
  • Word shuffle, where you're given a handful of words and a handful of definitions. Your goal is to match them up in the alloted time.
  • Safe cracker: you're given a definition and the initial letter of a matching word. You must spell out the word via the safe dial before your opponent does.
  • A spelling bee, which is just as the name implies.
After each game there is a word review for you to look over the vocabulary that has just been thrown at you. Your rank and progress are recorded as "expression potential," and you are given comparative titles such as poet (for a high vocab) and journalist (which didn't rank as high, said Yang with a laugh).

Controlling with the DS stylus was a breeze, but having to spell out letters with the Wii remote was nowhere near as fast. Yang said that a keyboard was "too mechanical" and that writing out the letters proved more involved and therefore intended to help the player retain more knowledge. Thankfully, you can use the DS as a controller for the Wii version.

Due to time constraints, there is no Mii integration in the Wii version. Yang said that it might be a possibility for the future. According to Yang, the title sports an impressive 16,000 words and their respective definitions.

My Word Coach is due out this holiday season for Wii and the DS.

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