I am bananas for hand-drawn and animated graphics in games, particularly ones that feature a bunch of silly or weird characters and a very “homemade art project" presentation, if that makes sense. Games like Hidden Folks and Krispee Street are ones that immediately come to mind. Well I have another painfully charming and adorable game to add to that list and it’s Studio Folly’s new word game Gubbins. What the heck’s a Gubbin? Well, mechanically they are an assortment of modifiers that can both help and hinder your pursuits while playing the word-making portion of Gubbins.
But a “gameplay modifier" just sounds so boring, so Studio Folly decided to dress up each of these modifiers as a different wacky character. If you are old like me and remember the game show Press Your Luck, the Gubbins are sort of a sibling to the Whammy. You’ll just be going about your business, trying to make words on the game board using a pile of single letters or letter chunks at the bottom of the screen, and then BAM out of nowhere a no good Gubbin will come along and do something to mess up your meticulously planned-out word that you were trying to create. Dang you, Gubbin!
Thankfully there are good Gubbins too that can kind of counteract the bad ones messing with you by offering up some very very helpful abilities. This might be giving you a free letter of your choosing to add to the board or even letting you take letters down from the board and add them back to your usable pile. Whatever the case, it feels like every time there’s a Gubbin trying to screw you over there’s another Gubbin showing up to help you do something amazing that you wouldn’t have been able to do on your own. It’s like the Yin and Yang of the Gubbins world.
It helps that the base word game the entirety of Gubbins is built around is also really solid. As I said before you have a stack of letter cards at the bottom, sometimes single letters and sometimes chunks of multiple letters on one card. Drag them onto the play field to create words, both horizontally and vertically. Using a card from the stack at the bottom will then reveal one of the letter cards below, so there’s sort of a “hope and a prayer" factor that goes into playing, as often I’ll be setting up a word that I don’t technically have all the right letters for yet, but… surely it’ll show up as I draw more cards, right? Right!? This might explain why I’m always losing at poker. I’m a river chaser through and through.
Gubbins is free to play the classic mode as much as you like, and there’s a few different IAP options to unlock more modes and Gubbin types and other neat decorations. Right now the bundle to just buy everything and make the game entirely premium is ten bucks, and if you like playing the free portion I think that’s the way to go. Really though, you’re paying for those sweet, sweet Gubbins and their gosh darn adorable personalities. The way they are animated, the sounds they make, their wacky designs, and of course the way they playfully pop in to completely screw over your game that was going so well up to that point. It’s very endearing, and… maddening! I do enjoy it though so if you dig word games don’t let Gubbins pass you by.