As you know, I am a word game fanatic. In order to keep my attention, a new game must offer something unusual or distinctive. And it has to have a good dictionary. Durion’s dictionary is mostly OK. But the gameplay seemed to me, initially, to be pretty typical– a dropping letters game. You get a row of letters, make a word and zap it in for points, with bonuses for word length, speed, and how many times you’ve gone without a false entry. And so, it was headed for the recycle bin. But then I uncovered a couple of things — things I couldn’t pick up in the incredibly confusing instructions. First, I could make the letters drop faster. The default speed was mind numbingly slow. Second, I could move the letters around in the tray, a la Scrabble style. So instead of identifying words in the dropping letters, it became more of a strategy and probability game. I could choose some letters thinking that I had a high probability of using them in a word (different letters have different point value, so is a bit of a gamble — play it safe and run out of time, or go for the big points but possibly go bust!?) and then change my mind about what word to make as the letters continue to drop. As a result of this serendipitous discovery, Durion kept me occupied for a good hour straight.
Survival score: 30-60 minute sessions.
Developer: entwicklungsschmiede UG & Co KG