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Dated word game

You'll find this puzzle fun to play but painful to look at.

Quacky is a word game that challenges users to create as many words as possible out of a set of letters in a given amount of time. Although the premise of the game is fun, the ancient-looking interface makes it kind of a drag to play.

The look of the game reminds us of a Web page circa 1998, replete with crinkly-paper-looking background image. Users can choose to play on their own or with other players, which requires users to download the Tams11 Gaming Lobby in order to connect. We've seen other word games that are similar to this one, but Quacky adds a twist; once a certain score is received, users are "quacked," which prevents them from creating three-letter words and also adds an extra three tiles to their group of letters. Once users are quacked, they have to score a minimum of 500 points per round, or they lose 500 points. For single-player game, the object is to play to 5,000 points, which is harder to achieve than you would expect when you're losing points every time you don't meet the quota. Overall, the game is fun and challenging, but we would love it if it were more enjoyable to look at. The sound effects are also somewhat annoying, especially the painfully high-pitched bell, but these can mercifully be turned off. The built-in Help file is adequate.

Quacky is free. It installs politely but leaves a folder behind upon removal. We recommend this program with reservations; although it's fun to play, we've seen similar concepts in much more attractive packaging.

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