Exactly a couple of years ago, one word game took the world by storm — Wordle. Can Gubbins do the same? Usually, I wake up with the sun for a cup of coffee and for the last couple of days, the cup of joe had to be repeated several times to power me through Gubbins or miscellaneous items.
It’s a wacky game that gets several things right, starting with the animated graphics involving silly characters. The game from Melbourne’s Studio Folly is simple — try to make words on the game board using a pile of single letters or letter chunks that pile up at the bottom of the screen. As you keep forming words, a no-good Gubbin will show up to mess the word you are trying to form.
Getting into the details, the longer the word, the more points you score. There are good Gubbins and also bad ones. In fact, Gubbins are situational, that is, some are useful, and some are not, and it all depends on what you need at that moment. By playing the wrong Gubbin you can end the game.
Gubbins try to put you in a spot by scrambling letters and confusing you
AT A GLANCE
Platform: iOS and Android
Cost: Free to begin with
Developer: Studio Folly, Melbourne
USP: “Play on a tram, with a baby in your arm, or with a cuppa tea on a sleepy Sunday morning (one-handing is encouraged),” says the studio Gameplay: Form words on a grid while a pack of Gubbins try to put you in a spot by scrambling your letters and confusing you. At the end, you get a chance to come up with a cool postcard containing the words you have created.
The base word you are given is solid. Then you have letter cards, which are at times single and could involve multiple letters on one card. You need to drag them onto the board to create words, horizontally or vertically. When you use a card from the stack, it will reveal one of the letter cards below. Since the game is new, you have the opportunity to find, collect, and master 25 Gubbins, each with unique gameplay functions.
The game has found an enthusiast in author-vlogger Hank Green, who loves word games. He saw gameplay footage of the title on TikTok. Excited, he reached out to the team behind Gubbins and wondered if he could play the game. After playing a pre-release version for quite sometime, he told the developers: “Can I buy 10 per cent of the revenue of your game and then donate that to charity.” They agreed.
Darcy Smith, the lead game designer, shared a thoughtful post about what Green has done on Reddit: “All of the lovely things folks say about Hank Green are undoubtedly true because here are the terms we ended up landing on. He gives us some cash up front and agrees to post about Gubbins sharing it with his community and the world. In return, we dedicate 10 per cent of the game’s money to a charity. Wild.”
Smith owns Studio Folly with Jessica Shipard, who is responsible for the art and creative direction. “Back in 2020, I had wrapped at a studio in Melbourne called League of Geeks (LoG) known for Armello and Jess had finished working for some crummy design agency that she was, in my eyes, obviously too good for. Simultaneously the world was shutting down. Hiring freezes swept the globe so my hopes of working with Larian fell apart after the first interview,” wrote Smith. “Word games in 2020 hadn’t moved in ages, everyone was still playing Scrabble, Words With Friends and crosswords. Maybe some Alphabear or Spelltower? These games were all relatively old but still had an audience. People froth on word games but the dev world had largely cast it away like it’s some 90s relic. Briefly flash forward to 2021, a year into Gubbins’ development Wordle went public and became the most Googled word of 2022 — so I guess we were right.”
Each game ends with an opportunity to create a postcard that you can share on social media.