Some games, in Pocket Gamer's collective mind anyway, will forever be associated with visiting grandparents.
Gathered around a little table in an ever-so-slightly musty living room, we'd play cards, board games and other parlour entertainments from a seemingly bygone era, eating those strange marshmallow biscuits that only pensioners are able to find in the supermarket.
It's a reminiscence that the board/puzzle game Boggle engenders, so to play the same word-based affair on as modern a piece of kit as a mobile phone is quite a strange experience. It's a meeting of old and new – although we doubt anyone over the age of 60 will be playing the mobile version, given that the letters are substantially smaller and, consequently, harder to see on the screen.
Otherwise, Jamdat's mobile phone version of Boggle is eerily faithful to the real thing, even down to the burst of vibration that shudders through your handset as the letters are jumbled up prior to being unveiled.
Boggle is basically a word search game. You play with a tray that's sub-divided into 16 spaces, each of which is filled with a dice that has letters in place of numbers on its sides. When the tray is shaken (it comes with a lid to keep the dice in and to prevent players getting a sneaky peak of the letters), the dice land a random way up, presenting a near-infinite combination of letters.
The challenge is to extract words from the alphabetic mess that ensues, using each letter only once and stringing them together, in order, to make sense. Each word wins you points, with longer words earning you a higher score.
In that respect Boggle's not demanding; if there's a game that's any easier to get into, we've not seen it. You simply select the letters you want to use with the cursor and the 'OK' or '5' button, in the order you want to use them, and then submit your word. The only hardship is presented by the clock – you've just three minutes to compile as high a score as possible.
Nope, the part of the game that's really demanding is coming up with the words in the first place. No two games are the same and, true to the original, you can be presented with 16 letters that, seemingly, contain no word that you're familiar with. But therein lies the charm: Boggle is a game that never stops providing an enjoyable puzzle, time after time (and that's no doubt why it's so popular in retirement homes across the country).
Alternative playing modes add to Boggle's life expectancy, with a challenge mode requiring you to notch up ever-higher scores against ever-smaller time limits and a 'Pass and Play' mode that matches you against a friend using a single handset. Here you each have three minutes with the same letters, and the highest scorer wins. However, as any words that you both submit are thrown out, it comes down to who is the most inventive or has the greater vocabulary.
Of course, if you're not dictionary-minded, this might all be as exciting as the warmed-through cabbage soup that's served up in many of those aforementioned establishments. But for anyone after a casual challenge that's more about mental dexterity than manual, it's excellent.