Ever since the POWGI games started appearing on Xbox with the initial release of Word Sudoku by POWGI, we have praised the Lightwood Games team for their unlimited ability to come up with pun after pun. Now though, the tables have turned. It is our turn to come up with the puns, in a fashion at least.
Just a Phrase by POWGI is another word-based puzzle game, this time riffing on the likes of Hangman and Wheel of Fortune. Players are given a phrase with blank letters to fill in by guessing the letters. However, in true POWGI fashion, there is a twist. Instead of these being well known phrases, one word is replaced by a homophone to change the phrase into a humorous play on it. It still sounds the same if you were to say it out loud, but when read, it looks a bit funny.
An example of this would be the phrase ‘Give the devil his due’. In Just a Phrase, this is changed to ‘Give the devil his dew’. Another one, ‘Tow away zone’ is changed to ‘Toe away zone’. They sound the same but have been fundamentally changed because of the homophones. And invariably, they are pretty funny too.
Unlike other POWGI games, there isn’t a hint system available here. But due to how the game is set up, one is not needed. Instead of simply choosing a letter from the alphabet, you are given four choices to correspond with the four controller buttons. Each time you choose one, another four are randomly offered. There is no time limit or max number of mistakes you can make, so you are guaranteed to solve each puzzle you try, whether that be on the 26th letter or earlier.
The only time this becomes an issue is if you are able to work out the phrase before all the letters are added. There isn’t an option to solve the puzzle fully, you still need to cycle through the groups of four letters to find the ones you need. This however, is only a minor inconvenience.
Just a Phrase manages to cram 150 of these cleverly designed puzzles into the game. They are arranged into Beginner, Easy, Medium, Hard and Bonus. I’m not really sure why they are graded in terms of difficulty, because they are impossible to fail at. Regardless, each group has 30 in each, with the Bonus 30 being unique to the Xbox release.
Just a Phrase also keeps the same aesthetic that has been running through all the POWGI games: same UI, same font, same mildly annoying music. There are some new musical ditty’s that haven’t been heard in a POWGI game before, but then there are some that have been present in several games. By now, those songs are almost classed as earworms simply down to the amount of times they’ve been heard.
This being another POWGI game, there is the promise of easy achievements. And Just a Phrase doesn’t let you down. There are 39 in total for the full 1000G, with 26 of these dedicated to finishing a phrase with a specific letter of the alphabet. The remainder are all very easy to unlock too and just require you to play a phrase slightly different than normal. For example, there is an achievement for replaying an already completed phrase and you can use this knowledge to unlock the achievement for selecting every wrong letter before completing a phrase.
There are however a couple of notable ones. I can’t think of another POWGI game that requires you to complete 120 puzzles to unlock every achievement but that is the case here. However, due to the impossible nature of failing these puzzles, even this large amount shouldn’t take too long.
If you’re a fan of the puns that have featured in previous POWGI games, then Just a Phrase by POWGI sits just ahead of the others that have been before. Now these puns are the answers and help make what would otherwise be a generic Hangman clone far more interesting and funnier. The decision to only select one letter from a group of four also works, making it a far easier game. There is no hint system this time, but one isn’t needed, because you literally cannot fail a phrase. This makes Just a Phrase one of the easiest to be released, but it is also one of the most enjoyable.
Become the pun master in Just a Phrase by POWGI on Xbox