Synonymy – The Brief

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The Pen is mightier than the sword, BUT the sword is pointier

The English Language is amazing. It’s words can be used to communicate almost anything. Emotions or feelings or items that do not have a name are often describable using words that do exist. It is this exploration of the alternate meaning of words which drives the gameplay of Synonymy.


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1cu0i-4gb8]


Playing Synonymy is a fairly straightforward affair. The players are given two words. The first is the word they start from, the second is the word that they must navigate to. To navigate between the two words you have the power of their synonyms. You go from synonym to synonym hoping that each time you change words you get closer to your goal.


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There are hints given to players to show them whether they are getting hotter or warmer. As you change from one word to the next you hear a tone. This tone changes pitch depending on the number of steps away from the final word you are. You can also see in the above picture how some of the words are bigger than others. The bigger the word the more synonyms it has, and hopefully the more choices you will have to advance.

While all of this may so far sound OK, this game does go downhill from here. While the concept on the whole is well executed, the environment is not. The menus are painful to navigate, the icons do not have consistent behaviour, and the available settings are awful. I also think, even though I like the concept, that it doesn’t really translate into a very interesting game. Yes, Richard Dawkins commentates and it does sound smooth, but I don’t think that it can make up for the fact that this is really just a novelty. It is not a game that is for everyone, but it will be great for some.

Julian has been involved in the games industry for more than a couple of years now, from working in retail to developing board games to judging Magic: the Gathering tournaments Australia wide. Now as a writer for OK Games he likes to explore niche titles that try to approach gaming from a different perspective. Now all he needs to do is start finishing all those games in his Steam Library...