This Game Is C-R-A-C-K-E-R-S - Let's Play Spelling Jungle and Spelling Blizzard!

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What Is This Game?

In 1993 and 1994, the edugame company Bright Star Technology made a pair of games designed to teach children spelling, which were published by Sierra. Originally titled “Yobi’s Magic Spelling Tricks”, the first game was released as “Yobi’s Basic Spelling Tricks”, and then as “Spelling Jungle”. The sequel, “Yobi’s Advanced Spelling Tricks”, is similarly better known under another name: “Spelling Blizzard”.

In both games, you play a villager who travels upriver to find out why your river is flooding. Along the way, you’ll have to travel through a series of top-down puzzles where you dodge wild animals, cross rivers, and collect letter tiles to (correctly) spell words. The big difference is that the second game is more challenging - and it’s winter.

These games were on the school computers when I was a kid, and were a fond part of my childhood - but I never managed to finish them.

I now have both games and a cantankerous Mac emulator, so we can change that.


How Will this LP Work?

This will, for the most part, be a screenshot LP. I’ll play through each level and provide commentary! It should be pretty short and sweet.

I’ll also post videos of each batch of 5 levels or so as I play through them. These will be lightly edited and have no commentary, for people who’d rather see the game in action.


Spoiler Policy

Please don’t spoil the ending of either game, as I have never seen them.


Notice of Simulcast: This LP is also posted over on the Something Awful LP forums. Chat it up with the biggest LP community out there!

Episodes

Episode 1: Welcome to the Jungle
Episode 2: Lions and Rhinos in Pairs, Oh My!
Episode 3: Novelties of the Jungle
Episode 4: Everything Wants a Piece of Us
Episode 5: Fast Fingers and/or Feet Required
Episode 6: Special ELECTION Update ft. Animal Antics
Episode 7: Hippo HQ and Roundabout Routes
Episode 8: Yobi's Day Off
Episode 9: Pushing Through the Jungle
Episode 10: A Decade of Zebras

{more to come…}


Videos

Levels 1-5
Levels 6-10
Levels 11-15
Levels 16-20
Levels 21-25
Levels 26-30
Levels 31-35

[I've stopped making videos.]

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Denizens of the Jungle

This post will list all the features we’ll will find as they travel upriver. It’ll be updated as we discover new things.


Characters

Image This is Yobi, your mission control, guide, and a general all-round helpful presence.

Image This is Crackers, Yobi’s parrot. Crackers squawks when you pick up letter tiles. Knows one and only one word: ”Crac-kers!”

Image This is you.


Terrain

Image This is Land. You can walk on this.

Image Grass is a kind of land, but animals won't walk on it of their own accord. You can use it to keep safe from more dangerous animals.

Image This is the River. You can’t walk on this, but you can get over it with the help of a Hippopotamus, Bridge, or Boulder. Or you can ride over it on the Raft.

Image “The Trees are fake thick.” Trees are impassable, and form walls that block your way. You can throw apples through them, though... and Demons can throw things back!

Image Stone Walls are just as impassible as trees, but you can’t throw things through them, either. They also block Demons' attacks, and animals and Demons can't see through them, either.

Image Mud is frictionless! Once you set out in a direction, you won't be able to stop yourself until you hit something solid.

Image Hot Coals are safe to walk over... as long as you don't stop moving while you're standing on them. If you stop moving while on Hot Coals for any reason, you'll have to start the level over.

Image Pits are only a danger to you if you walk into them! Unfortunately, there's no safety railings.


Animals and Enemies

Image Hippopotamuses will stay where they are by default, submerging in the water sometimes. You can walk over them when their backs are out of the water. If you feed a Hippo, it will let you ride it for a short time. Be sure to be somewhere you can safely disembark by the time the apple wears off, or you’ll be stuck in midriver!

Image Zebras won’t move, usually. If you feed one, it will follow you, and you can push it around as well. Once the apple wears off, the Zebra will stand still.

Image Gazelles are always in motion, normally running around the left or right edge of the terrain. If you feed one, it will stop, and you can push it around. It will start running again once the apple wears off.

Image Elephants are like Zebras in that they normally won't move. If you feed one, you can push it around, but once the apple wears off, the Elephant will return to its starting location if possible.

Image Rhinoceroses move back and forth in a straight line. If you run into the front end of one, you'll have to start the level over. If you feed one, it can be safely pushed around; if this changes the way it's facing, it will move in that direction once the apple wears off.

Image Lions have a set 'home space', and chase anyone who's too close to it. They'll walk back to their home space once you're far enough away. If one catches you, you'll have to start the level over; they don't care for apples, and will ignore them.

Image Tigers will start tracking your position if they see you (their vision extends up, down, left, and right in straight lines). They will walk vertically whenever you walk vertically; they will walk horizontally whenever you walk horizontally. When doing this, they'll always try to get closer to you, and if they get too close they'll chase you even if you stand still. Tigers will stop tracking you if they lose line-of-sight, which means that you can fake them out by ducking around a corner or trapping them in a cul-de-sac.

ImageImage Alligators patrol the outside of the body of water they're in - until you get too close. Then they'll start following you around, even coming up on land to do so. Running into one means starting over. Alligators will abandon their chase if they get too far away from where they left the water, or from you.

Image The Fire Demon throws fireballs vertically, horizontally, and diagonally, as long as it can see you and you're in line with it. Fortunately, these fireballs have a very short range (2 squares). If one hits you, you'll have to start the level over.

Image The Dart Demon shoots darts vertically and horizontally, if it can see you and you're in line with it. These darts travel pretty quickly, and will go until they hit something solid or leave the screen. You'll only be able to pass safely from a ways away, or if you can block the darts' path with a stone wall, boulder, or animal.

Image The Wind Demon can't harm you directly, but it sure can push you around! Wind Demons blow vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, turning to face you as you move. Their wind has infinite range, and blows at the same speed you walk, so you won't be able to walk against it effectively. You'll stop if you hit something solid.

Items

Image Collecting Letter Tiles to form words is your main goal as you venture upriver. If you grab the wrong one, you’ll have to start over.

Image Apples can be thrown at animals to feed them. Different animals will have different reactions to being fed.

Image A Bridge can be placed to cross the river. Image

Image Boulders can block off pathways or shield you from harm. It can also be pushed into the river to cross it, but the boulder won’t hang around for very long!

Image A Jeep is like a boulder, but it will roll on its own once pushed, stopping once it hits something solid. It can only be pushed forwards or backwards.

ImageImageImageImageImage Ooh, shiny! Trinkets are found every 10 levels, but collecting them may prove difficult. Can you pull it off?

Image Potions have special beneficial effects, but they're rare and last only for a short time (about 11 seconds). So far, we've seen:

Image The Walk on Water potion lets you cross rivers without a bridge! If you're still on water when it wears off, expect to get wet and have to start over.
Image The Anti-Dart potion protects you from Dart Demons' darts. Being out of line of sight once it wears off is a good idea.

Et Cetera

Image The Raft is your ticket into and out of levels. It will duck out once you start a level, and return once you’ve collected all the letter tiles.

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Episode 1: Welcome to the Jungle

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First off, it’s time to start the game! We’ve just booted up SheepShaver, a somewhat cantankerous PPC Mac emulator running Mac OS 8.5.

I don’t remember why I named the main HD of the emulated computer ‘Mask’, by the way.

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Now let’s play the…

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Oh.

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OK, let’s try that again.

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Note that the version of the game I was able to lay my hands on was one before the name change. It’ll always be ‘Spelling Jungle’ in my heart, though.

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The ‘Spelling Jungle’ title card looks like this, for comparison.

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We fade in on a tidy map scene. This menu screen shows your progress - and, on the ‘EXPLORERS’ board, anyone else who’s playing the game and the latest level they reached, too.

Image Eheheheh. Hello! Prepare yourself! When you are ready, choose a stone.

This is Yobi. He’s going to be our mission control for our journey. He is also fully voice acted - with lip flaps! Not bad for a game that’s only 10 MB in size.

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Clicking on ‘NEW GAME’, we get this name entry screen.

Image Type in your name.

I wasn’t kidding about the lip flaps, by the way. Just look at that enunciation!

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‘QUACKLES’ seems like a good name… I sure hope it got the last few letters, though.

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That brings us back to the menu screen.

Image The river is flooding, and our home is in danger! Our tribe has chosen you! Your journey upriver will find the cause… good luck!

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We click PLAY, and are confronted with a loading screen.

Image Heh! Your journey is just beginning!

This would take ages to load back on the school’s 68k Macs. I suspect the voice clips associated with each level are heavily compressed. Yobi has some idle animations to pass the time (thunking that staff of his, wiggling his toes) but it still felt like forever.

Since SheepShaver is being backed up by all the power of a 2014 MacBook Pro, the loading screen only hangs around long enough for Yobi to finish talking.


Level 1. FIRST

First is really second today.”

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Here is our first puzzle level!

Image That’s you on the raft! Collect the letters of the word F-I-R-S-T, in the proper order.
Image Remember, in the word “first”, the I-R sounds like an R!

The flow of this dialogue makes it clear that Yobi has voice clips for each individual letter, as well as sentence fragments like, “sounds like” or “in the proper order”. It still sounds good, though, and it’s super impressive for something from 1993.

Image Use the arrow keys to move. Walk over letters to pick them up.

A caw from Yobi’s parrot signals the start of the level. Our goal, as noted above, is to collect the letter tiles in order, then return to the raft.

The one-liner at the bottom of the screen is a mnemonic that relates to the word we’re here to collect. It changes with every level.

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Before we start, we pause the game. This activates the help function; if we click on anything onscreen, Yobi will tell us about it.

Image “This is your journey.”

Image “The trees are thick.”

Trees can’t be walked through, but that’s not what’s important about them. When I was a kid playing this game, me and my friends were absolutely sure Yobi was saying, “The trees are fake.”

We got a lot of humor out of that one line.

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Once we step off the raft, it disembarks, heading towards the bottom of the screen. It’ll be back when we’re done.

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Collecting letters makes them appear on the board above Yobi’s head. This board will also store our inventory, once we get anything else worth picking up.

Now, you may be wondering: what happens if we collect the wrong letters? Well…

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Image Whoops! The letter S would have been a wiser choice.

When you fail levels due to spelling-related reasons, Yobi will typically deploy a proverb on you.

Image Every letter must be placed well / in every word / you seek to spell.

And finally, the thing he’ll say for every do-over…

Image Let’s try that one again.

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A quick fade out, and the puzzle is reset.

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This time, we gather everything in order.

Image Back to the raft!

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Once the puzzle is complete, Yobi will bang his staff three times. In addition to bringing back the raft, this clears away most entities that are left in the puzzle, like leftover letter tiles or wild animals.

Yobi has this to say about the raft, by the way:

Image “You will reach your goal by taking the raft.”

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Back on the raft, we continue our journey.

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We fade back in at the site of a pop quiz. There’s one of these after every puzzle level.

Image Spell “first”.

The first word we’re asked to spell in these will always be the word we just collected in the puzzle.

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We spell the word, and a little figure climbs onto the signboard. It may be hard to see, but we (on the raft) just paddled a bit farther to the left.

Image Fantastic! Spell the word ”reading”.

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We do, and another figure climbs up onto the board.

Image Way to go! Spell ”plant”.

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Image You got it!

With our third spelled word, the quiz is complete - for now. The figures wave goodbye as we paddle offscreen.


Level 2. PRACTICE

”It’s fun to practice skating on ice.”

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Now that we’ve completed the quiz, the game segues immediately to our next puzzle level.

Image Collect the letters of the word P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the E is silent in the word ”practice”.
Image Press the Space bar to throw an apple. If you feed a hippopotamus, you can ride on his back!

You’ve already heard what Yobi has to say about hippos, but if you click on an apple while the game is paused, he says,

Image “Feed the apples to animals if you need their help.”

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Hippopotamuses, at rest, don’t move. They alternate between submerged…

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And surfacing. You can walk on their backs while they’re surfaced, but they won’t move for free.

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We’re going to need the hippo’s help to cross the river and get the next letter (the R), so we grab the two apples on this side (which go onto the board above Yobi’s head for storage) …

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And then we feed one to the hippo! It turns bright pink. We can now walk onto it and control it with the arrow keys for a little while, so we use it to cross the river.

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By the time we get the ‘R’, the apple is wearing off. (It’s not visible in this screenshot, but the hippo flashes between bright pink and its normal color for a few seconds.)

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We have to feed the hippo again to get back. Note how apples travel when we’re not right up next to the animal: they fly straight forward in front of us.

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From here, the rest of the letters are easy.

Image Back to the raft!

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The hippo vanishes, and the raft reappears. Away we go!

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As expected, it’s time for another pop quiz.

Image Spell the word ”practice”.

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Image You’re movin’ now! Spell ”march”.

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This time, I screw up - I hit Enter too soon, and the ‘H’ isn’t read. Not only do we not get credit for the answer, but…

Image “March” is spelled…

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Image M-A-R-C-H. “March”.

…Yobi also spells it out for us.

Image Spell the word “action”.

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Image There you go! Spell ”cheese”.

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You can click on Yobi in case you want the word repeated. In this case, I do, because the voice clip is near-silent on the ‘eeze’ part of ‘cheese’, so I can’t hear the word properly! Yes, even with headphones.

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Image You got it!

Finally, I just guess. Fortunately, I’m right.

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Between levels, Yobi has another proverb:

Image A correctly spoken word is heard at an instant! The correctly spelled word is permanent.


Level 3. NICE

Nice igloos cover Eskimos.”

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Our third puzzle level.

Image Collect the letters of the word N-I-C-E, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget! The C can sound like an S.
Image Press the Space bar to lay down a bridge. If you feed a zebra, it won’t leave your side.

Importantly, this level has our first instance of a letter tile that does not belong in the word. If you collect the S at any point, it’s like picking up letter tiles out of order - you’ll have to start over.

Yobi has this to say when asked about bridges:

Image “Bridges are useful for crossing the river!”

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We start on the right side. The N isn’t here with us, so our first job is to get across the river.

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We grab the bridge (it goes into our inventory) and deploy it by pressing SPACE while next to a 1-tile-wide stretch of river. Bridges are permanent until you’ve collected all the letters.

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Once we’re across, we have a different problem: the zebra is between us and the N. We grab an apple and toss it to the zebra…

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…and it starts following us around! Once it’s somewhere out of the way, we stop and wait for the apple to wear off.

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Zebras won’t move when they’re not fed, which is fine for us. We snag the N.

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From here, finishing the puzzle is just a matter of some time-consuming backtracking - and avoiding the S.

Image Back to the raft!

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The raft makes the bridge, zebra, and S all disappear, leaving a straight shot to the finish.

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We go through another pop quiz, before paddling to another puzzle.


Level 4. EASY

”Spelling easy is as easy as slurping yogurt.”

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Another puzzle with a decoy letter. In a game about avoiding spelling mistakes, this will not be anything near the last.

Image Collect the letters of the word E-A-S-Y, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget! An S can sound like a Z.
Image Gazelles will only stop for food! Once they stop, they will go anywhere you push.
Image Push Boulders to block danger, or into the river as a stepping stone.

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Gazelles run endlessly, like Yobi promised. They don’t pose a threat to us, but they can get in the way.

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Once we’ve collected the E, we have to push the boulder out of the way to get to the A and S.

Gazelles simply route around anything that’s in their way.

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For the heck of it, I decide to use the boulder to cross the lake once I’ve picked up the A. Boulders are single-use— this one sinks after I cross.
(They also sink if you wait a bit without crossing.)

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From there, collecting the remaining letters is E-A-S-Y, especially with the raft docking spot right nearby.

Image Back to the raft!

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Off we go!

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It’s worth noting that the pop quizzes are the only part of actual gameplay that’s backed by music. The puzzles just have ambient sounds, based on what’s in the level.

Music: Spelling Jungle Drums

Image Can you spell ”easy”?

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Image You’re right! Spell ”vote”.

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Yobi says, vote. You heard it here first, people!

Image Goo-hoo-hoo-hood! Spell the word ”nature”.

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Image Yes!

That completes this quiz. Off we go, arriving at…


Level 5. BEGIN

Begin exploring good ideas now.”

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The puzzles are still easy, but they’re starting to pick up in complexity.

Image Collect the letters of the word B-E-G-I-N, in the proper order.
Image Some words are not spelled the way they sound.

I know one of the spelling mistakes they were expecting people to make was B-E-E-G-I-N, but what’s that A lying around here for??

Anyway, this level introduces stone walls. Like trees, they’re impassable. Unlike trees, you can’t throw things through them (this will be relevant later on).

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Sadly, I didn’t think to click on a wall and get Yobi’s explanation, but I did click on two very important things I hadn’t asked about before.

Image I am Yobi.

Image “This is Crackers.”

Image Crac-kers!

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We won’t need the apple for this level, so we head for the B, then push the boulder out of the way.

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We get the E once the Gazelle passes, as it’d block our way otherwise.

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After grabbing the G and the bridge, we push the boulder aside again so we can get back to the open area on the left.

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Here’s how Gazelles behave when fed: as promised, they stop, and you can push them around.

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They start running again once they’re no longer full, though!

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Image Back to the raft!

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After we grab the N, the bridge, gazelles, and extra letters all disappear. Note that the boulder does not disappear; the game considers it part of the scenery, and we may have to make a bridge with a boulder later on to get back to the raft.

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We clear the next pop quiz without difficulty. However, once we get to the next puzzle this time, I decide to go back to the map by clicking on ‘MAP’ in the next puzzle screen.

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Now that we have a save file in progress, the map shows us our progress. Spelling Jungle has 101 levels, so we have a ways to go!

Wait, a second, though. Do I see what I think I see? Our name is preserved for posterity up on the high score board! Our record is saved for eternity! Our—

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… oh, dag nab it.


Next Time on Spelling Jungle: Rhinos and lions and fireball hurlers, oh my!

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Huh. The semi-educational spelling game I remember from my youth was the first Bookworm Adventures. It was basically my first RPG!

...yeah, I'm on the younger end.

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The animation on the guy is so familiar, it's just like doctor brain's niece in Doctor Brain's Brain Drain, and it's giving me some weird flash backs.

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Gloomy Rube wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 4:52 pm
The animation on the guy is so familiar, it's just like doctor brain's niece in Doctor Brain's Brain Drain, and it's giving me some weird flash backs.
Funny you should mention that. Bright Star Technology would go on to make The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain.

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Well, that was certainly a thing. I can see these puzzles getting somewhat complicated for a young child.

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Episode 2: Lions and Rhinos in Pairs, Oh My!

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So far, the only hazards of our journey have been collecting the wrong letter tiles or falling into the river.

This is about to change.

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Yobi, chatty as ever, has something unique to say when the game loads from the map screen.

Image Your persistence is your strength!


Level 6. JOURNEY
Journey only upon roads not expecting you.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word J-O-U-R-N-E-Y, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the Y is silent!
Image A rhinoceros will pace until you feed him. Watch out for his snout!

Yobi’s not joking about the rhinos. They’ll walk back and forth in a straight line, turning around when they hit something solid. But if they run into you from the front, well…

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Image Let’s try that one again!

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Image J-O-U-R-N-E-Y is the word.

Before we continue, I should note that this level introduces something that will be very, very important later on. See that green stuff?

Image “The grass makes animals anxious.”

This is grass. Animals will not walk on it willingly, and if pushed into it, they won’t move (I think). Effectively, it’s a kind of ‘safe zone’ for dealing with anyone who might want to take a bite out of us.

As you might surmise, there will be animals coming up who might want to take a bite out of us.

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This time, we wait for the rhino to be out of the way before grabbing the J.

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We have to do it again for the O and the U, as they are both in the rhino’s path.

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Even though there is an apple on this side of the river, we don’t need to use it to get the hippo’s help. All we have to do is walk across when it’s not underwater!

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We grab the N, and dodge around the second rhino to get the E.

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The Y is going to be tough to get to, though… so we feed the rhino.

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Once the rhino is fed, he stops. Now we can push him around safely like a zebra or a gazelle.

There’s one more cool thing about rhinos - once the apple wears off, the rhino resumes pacing. However, because we made him face right, he paces horizontally instead of vertically! This means we can move rhinoceroses to be safely out of the way, as long as we have apples.

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Image Back to the raft!

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With the word finished, we proceed onwards.

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Past this point, I’m going to condense most pop quizzes, unless something interesting happens.

Image Can you spell ”journey”?

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Image That’s the first one! Spell the word “potato”.

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Image You’re right! Spell “poem”.

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Image Well spelled!

Away we go.


Level 7. ENOUGH
Enough nagging often upsets good humor.”

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This level looks… kind of ominous.

Image Collect the letters of the word E-N-O-U-G-H, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget! In the word ”enough”, G-H sounds like an F!
Image A lion guards his den fiercely!

To hammer the point home, we immediately hear a digitized lion roar.

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Lions are fairly straightforward. They have a ‘home space’ (their starting position), and if we’re within a certain distance of it (I think a 2-square radius), they’ll leave our position and chase us. They won’t walk onto the grass, fortunately.

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In fact, as long as we stay entirely on the grass, this lion won’t be able to harm us!

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Once we’re far enough away, the lion stops following us and returns to its home space.

Critically, though, if a lion catches us while we’re ever off the grass…

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Image Let’s try that one again!

I’m sure everyone saw that coming from a mile away.

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This level, in addition to introducing lions, kind of doubles as a tutorial on grass. All the letters are on grass, there’s enough space to always stay on the grass while moving from letter to letter, and the fact that you have to walk past the lions shows you how they’ll behave when they get far enough away from you.

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We get the letters on this side of the river and deploy the bridge, carefully dodging around the Fs. Yobi would have had “enuff” of our attempt if we tried.

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The lion on the right side ignores us, even while we collect the G. It’s mostly there to point out that it’s not safe to disembark the raft anywhere a lion can eat you.

Image Back to the raft!

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That lion is gone by the time we re-embark, anyway.

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The next pop quiz goes mostly smoothly, though I have to prod Yobi to repeat himself a few times on “crisp” - once again, the sample is quiet towards the end.

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Yobi has more loading screen advice for us.

Image To spell a single word correctly is to avoid many mistakes!


Level 8. NEITHER
Neither time did ‘I’ go first.”

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OK, quick, how does it go? I before E, except after C, or when sounding like A, as in… oh, fuck it. “Neither” is one of those words that blows that rule out of the water.

Also, I may have typed it wrong 3 or 4 types in a row, and had to backspace and correct it, while writing this post. :magical:

Image Collect the letters of the word N-E-I-T-H-E-R, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the E-I sounds like E in the word “neither”.

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The actual puzzle is somewhat more straightforward. We start by getting the N, then moving the zebra out of the way.

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After grabbing the E, we load up on apples and move the boulder out of the way (we won’t need it), then ride the hippo across the river.

Thinking on it, the game encourages you to spell the word with ‘E-I’ using the puzzle design, in addition to everything else; if you plan everything out before you start, you’ll notice there aren’t enough apples for two trips across the river.

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The rhino has a long travel time, so we dodge around it and collect the I, T, and the H.

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Then it’s just a matter of taking the hippo back across to the left bank - though our first apple misses as the hippo submerges unexpectedly.

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And we’re done.

Image Back to the raft!

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During the pop quiz, I manage to nail the spelling.

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We also get a repeat of “march”, seeing as we messed up on it a few levels ago.

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“Grass” is another word where I have to ask for a repeat. So far, all the words that are to quiet at the back end tend to end with either a ‘P’ or ’S’ syllable.

This might be due to the recording technologies used - it’s common for professional voice recording to use a ‘pop filter’, to prevent a burst of air from hitting the microphone all at once on syllables that ‘pop’, like ‘P’.

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Note that this doesn’t explain why ’S’ syllables are quiet - though it’s possible that the recording was also processed to remove undue hissing noises, such as those produced by ’S’ sounds.

Ultimately, all we can do is speculate.


Level 9. PLEASE
Please let every animal safely exist.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word P-L-E-A-S-E, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the S can sound like a Z!
Image The Fire Demon is dangerous from many directions!

I’m sorry, the what?  :stare:

Image A Jeep will roll on its own, and wisely used, protect you.

OK, before we continue, let’s talk about Demons. The Fire Demon is the first of three types of entities that aren’t exactly animals, but will seek to ruin your day in various ways. I’m informed the manual calls them ‘Tricksters’ instead of ‘Demons’, possibly to avoid upsetting parents and teachers; but in here, Yobi calls them Demons, so Demons they shall be.

The Fire Demon doesn’t do anything yet. We’re not close enough, and thanks to the stone walls, it can’t see us.

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Our first job is to deal with this rhino. We’ll have to walk on its path to get to the P and the rest of the puzzle, so we’ll have to keep it from stampeding over us!

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We push the Jeep with good timing, after the rhino has gone past. The jeep keeps rolling even after we’re not pushing it, and traps the rhino. We take the opportunity to grab the bridge.

(For those who are wondering, you can’t move a Jeep if you push from the side, only from the front or back.)

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On our way to get the P, the Fire Demon sees us. It turns out the Fire Demon can throw fireballs!

…but the fireballs only have a maximum range of two squares, about to the range shown in the picture. We’re safe for now, but the L will require us to take some care.

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We carefully stick near the stone walls and grass to avoid the Fire Demon, who it turns out can throw fireballs diagonally as well.

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After retracing our steps, we grab an E (there will be no “pleez” mishaps here today), and toss the bridge down so we can get to the A. If we hadn’t blocked in the rhino now, we’d be in a bit of a pickle - it’s hard to set up a bridge with a rhino bearing down on you! The gap to the right of the S wouldn’t have worked, because we have to get the A first.

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We snag the last three letters without much trouble.

Image Back to the raft!

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Jeeps, like boulders, don’t disappear when the raft returns.

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We pass the pop quiz without any trouble.


Level 10. SUGAR
Sugar usually gets a reaction.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word S-U-G-A-R, in the proper order.
Image Remember, there’s no H in the word ”sugar”.
Image Trinkets are highly prized, but difficult to collect!

Just when we think we’ve seen everything, the game throws a new wrinkle at us: trinkets! A trinket will appear every 10 levels, and serve as an optional goal that makes the level harder. If we want the trinket, we’ll need to nab it before we collect the last letter, or it’ll disappear when Yobi bangs his staff. If we do grab it, the trinket will appear on the map screen when we’re signed in, as a bit of bragging rights.

This trinket level isn’t too hard - the game is starting us off easy so that we get used to the concept, and it mostly serves as a final exam on how to deal with Fire Demons.

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Grabbing the apple that’s on this side of the river, we head around to grab the S and the U.

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We then use the apple we picked up to get the zebra out of the way, giving us the G and a bridge.

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The bridge gets us to the A. Note that the Fire Demon can see us, even through trees! It’s too far away for its fireballs to reach us, though.

At this point, I could backtrack, grab the R, and leave without the trinket. However, this is going to be an all-trinkets run of the game, so retreat is not an option.

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We’re going to need to block off the Fire Demon from having a clear shot before we can grab the apple that’s on this side, so we push the boulder around and up next to it.

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Now, we can ride the hippopotamus to the island with the trinket.

(Note the fireballs! We have to go around the top side of the island for this reason. If we went around the bottom side, we’d end up flambéd and have to start over.)

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Trinket Get! Once again, we are out of fireball range (though just barely).

For those who’ve been paying particular attention, you may have noticed that apples go in the top row of the inventory board, bridges in the second row, trinkets in the fourth row, and letters on the bottom row. What goes on the third row? We’ll see, but not for a while.

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Now, I think it’s at least theoretically possible to ride the hippo to the island, grab the trinket, and ride back on just one apple. However, if it is actually doable, the timing is pretty tight, and we’d risk being stuck in mid-river.

Instead, I wait for the first apple to wear off, then feed the hippo again with the apple that was next to the trinket. Back to the left bank we go!

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We grab the R and declare victory.

Image Back to the raft!

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The raft takes us to our next pop quiz, but there’s a new twist waiting for us.

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After our first three words…

Image Alllll right! Can you spell ”energy”?

…we get asked to spell a fourth!

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Image You’re right!

A new figure climbs up on the board, and we make our way upriver. Every 10 levels, pop quizzes are upgraded, requiring us to spell one more word to pass. This will be the case whether we grab the trinket or not!

This upgrade pattern will cap out after Level 70, where we’ll be spelling 10 words each session. For the time being, we make our exit, then return to the map.

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Our trinket is waiting for us! If we’d passed it by, there’d be an outline here instead.

Even though we’ve gotten a bit farther, though, and gotten cool swag, it seems our journey has only really just begun.


Next Time on Spelling Jungle: Up for a nice game of darts?

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Gosh this game is cool. Like, this is already a lot more complexity than you'd expect for a game of this type. And this is only the first game. I can't imagine what the snowy one will be like.

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Episode 3: Novelties of the Jungle

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Now that we’ve got our first trinket, you’d think the game might let up on us. And it does, but only so it can introduce lots of new stuff.

Image Oooooh! More surprises await you.


Level 11. SURE
Surely unicycles require energy!”

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Hot on the heels of SUGAR, we’ve got another level to remind us that English words don’t ever start with S-H-U, unless it’s pronounced /ʃʌ/ (‘shuh’) instead of /ʃu/ (‘shoo’).

Image Collect the letters of the word S-U-R-E, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget! In the word “sure”, there’s no H!

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If you got the trinket, this is a nice breather level. If you skipped it, this level will teach you about the art of riding hippos over long distances.

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After grabbing the S, we do our best to get as much of our remaining ride time as we can from the hippo. We still have to dismount back onto the island and feed the hippo again to make it across, though.

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We get to the far side and grab the U. We also grab another apple, so we’re still holding nicely at a steady supply of two.

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Next, we set out on hippoback and collect the R (and another apple).

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This time, we wait on the island for the apple to wear off, rather than risk being stuck in mid-lake and having to start over.

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Past this point, it’s a straight shot to the E.

Image Back to the raft!

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It’s a pity there wasn’t an extra ’T’ tucked into the corner of this level. I would have liked to try to have spelled “chute”, even if it would have ended in disaster.

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Another pop quiz down. I can appreciate that the answer to…

Image Can you spell S-U-R-E?

…is, “sure”.


Level 12. ABOUT
”Let’s go out and about.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word A-B-O-U-T, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget the O-U in the word “about”!
Image It will take planning to pass the Dart Demon.

Ooh boy, ooh boy, ooh boy! We’ve got another Demon, folks. We’ll see what this one does when we get closer to it.

I also, finally, thought to get Yobi’s take on stone walls before the level starts.

Image “Stone blocks can’t be moved.”

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We start by going right from the raft - not left. This is so that we can grab the bridge and set it up in the top.

The Dart Demon hasn’t done anything so far, mostly because we’re behind a pair of stone walls that block its vision.

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We nab the A and B.

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At this point, to get to the O, we’ll need to grab the bridge first. We do so, but make sure never to get directly in line with the Demon…

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Because the Dart Demon, perhaps a bit unsurprisingly, shoots darts at us! The demon can only fire left, right, up, or down, and as long as we’re far enough away and keep moving across the line of fire, the darts will miss.

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As with the bridge, we can get close and grab the O without any problems.

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For the U, though, we’ll need some help. Ducking past the darts again, we push the boulder to block the Demon’s line of fire to the left.

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Now we can get the U and T safely.

Image Back to the raft!

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The Dart Demon is cleared away like every other enemy before we leave, fortunately.

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The pop quiz gives us little trouble. The game won’t really bust out the longer words until we get farther upriver.

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Yobi Proverb time!

Image To spell a single word correctly is to avoid many mistakes.


Level 13. PARTY
Parties are reasons to yodel.”

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Yeeeeikes! Sadly, I’ve already used my ‘lions and tigers, oh my’ joke for the LP, or I’d certainly drop one here. Just look at that puzzle layout!

Image Collect the letters of the word P-A-R-T-Y, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the Y sounds like an E!

And on top of that, there’s an annoying new animal to deal with.

Image It is difficult to escape a tiger when he sees you.

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We start by going to the right and collecting all the apples, mostly so we can demonstrate something a bit later.

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On our way to the boulder so we can cross the river, our path falls in range of three tigers, and they start following us!

The way tigers work is that they can see up, down, left, and right to any distance in a straight line. If you cross their line of sight, they will start tracking you.

When you move vertically, any tigers that are following you will move vertically as well, trying to keep line-of-sight (or get closer if they can). When you move horizontally, tigers will move horizontally in the same way. Normally, tigers stop moving if you break eye contact, so you can fake them out by going around a corner of something solid, or trapping them in a cul-de-sac.

Tigers also won’t move if you stand still - unless they’re very close to you. If they’re too close, they’ll run at you, which is usually followed by Yobi saying “let’s try that one again” before your tea even has a chance to get cold.

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The lions in this level are a lot less of a threat, as they only defend their territory. One follows us as we push the boulder to cross the river, but gives up once we’re far enough away.

As we run down to the grass pathway, both tigers that can follow us do follow us. We’re going to be staying on this grass path as if our skin depended on it - which it kind of does.

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Feeding an apple to a tiger does absolutely nothing. (The same is true with lions, by the way.)

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Following the grass path, we’re able to safely get the P and the A. Note how the tigers track us as we pass.

We now have a small problem: the R is farther along the path, but the other A and the I are both in the way, so we’ll have to step out of our ‘safe zone’ briefly to get there.

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This ‘corridor’ between the two lions’ ranges proves to be the best way to cross. The lions are both too far away to bother us, and the tiger can’t get at us ‘cause the lion is blocking it.

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We follow the winding path to the R, and then the T.

At this point, we could try walking on the path to above the Y and jogging straight down, but that would put us at risk of being eaten by the tiger just to the right of us.

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We take the long way around instead, and only walk off the grass path at the end, when we snag the Y.

Image Back to the raft!

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Seriously, look at that! That level had 4 lions, 6 tigers, and 3 decoy letters to boot. Now it all vanishes as we head upriver.

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We get some bigger words in the pop quiz this time.


Level 14. HEIGHT
High elevation is good helicopter territory.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word H-E-I-G-H-T, in the proper order.
Image Remember the silent letters G-H in the word ”height”.
Image You will lose your traction in the mud!

This level is very straightforward, and mostly serves as an introduction to mud. Once we step on it…

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We keep moving, and can’t change our direction!! We’ll only be able to move around once we hit something solid, or find ourselves on solid ground again.

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We slide down to the bottom, and get the E and I by going right and left.

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From where the E was, we can collect the bridge and the apples - albeit by a very roundabout route.

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From there, it’s easy to head up and to the right so we can set up the bridge…

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…but we’re sliding straight into the path of a charging rhino! A thrown apple lets us pass, and we set up the bridge.

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We slide over and down to the G, then up and around to the H.

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From there, it’s a short trip down and across the river to the T.

Image Back to the raft!

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Getting back to the raft involves a somewhat circuitous route, this time. Mud doesn’t disappear just because Yobi bangs his staff!

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Away we go.

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Our next pop quiz proceeds without incident. Yobi’s back to tossing shorter words at us.


Level 15. LOVE
Lions often visit elephants.”

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Whoa! Now this is a level. Is that… lava? In a jungle? It sure doesn’t look healthy.

Image Collect the letters of the word L-O-V-E, in the proper order.
Image Remember, there’s no “you” in the word “love”.
Image Don’t stay too long in the hot coals!

Well, that’s deep.

I realize that Yobi said the letter U, and not “you”, but it's still a heck of a thing to hear him say! Anyway, let’s talk about hot coals.

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You can walk over hot coals safely! But if you stop while you’re on them…

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Image Let’s try that one again!

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After we restart from the raft, we grab some apples and the L.

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We work our way around, grabbing apples as we go, and head into the heart shape to get the O.

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Fun fact: A gazelle blocking you in where I’m standing is the one way you could accidentally get KOd by hot coals in this level.
We narrowly avoid this.

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We get the V. It seems the board is maxed out once we have eight apples - or letter tiles.

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After a brief misadventure where a gazelle gets trapped in the entryway to the heart, we finally grab the E. (Gazelles, as well as other animals, won’t walk on hot coals.)

Image Back to the raft!

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Like with mud, we do have to be wary of the hot coals when we make our exit.

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Our next pop quiz… is Yobi trying to tell us something? Don’t worry, Yobi. We’ll get a personals magazine for you, just as soon as the journey upriver brings us by a traveling magazine stand.

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But that’ll have to be for later. For now, we’ve finished another leg of our big spelling adventure.


Next Time on Spelling Jungle: We meet even more Demons, and one last addition to the ‘dangerous animals’ crew.

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That "party" level was strange. Why give you all those apples if they're no good against the lions and tigers anyway? Just to get you to experiment with them and find out they're useless, so you don't try it later?

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DKII wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:06 am
That "party" level was strange. Why give you all those apples if they're no good against the lions and tigers anyway? Just to get you to experiment with them and find out they're useless, so you don't try it later?
I think so. This game has a heavy 'learn by doing' vibe to it. That's part of why the level with the introduction to tigers has cul-de-sacs to trap them in, etc.

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Episode 4: Everything Wants a Piece of Us

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So, who’s ready to journey upriver? We’re due for a second trinket this time, so I don’t think this batch of levels will be as easy as the last.

Image Remember your purpose!


Level 16. FAVORITE
Favorite Aunt Vera ordered raspberry ice to eat.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget the O in the word ”favorite”!

So, I may have mentioned before now that you can throw apples through trees.

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Guess what: Dart Demons and others can throw things right back!

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After some careful planning, we decide to push the lower boulder so that we can snag the bridge.

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Then we push the other one so that we don’t get skewered by darts when we go for the O and I later.

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We grab the F. We can push the boulder to block the upper Dart Demon so we can get the second bridge.

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Instead of going to get the bridge, though, I grab the V and the O first. Then, I decide to do something clever.

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What if I were to cross to the island with the ‘R’ on the boulders, then about-face quick enough to return?

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I only realize my mistake after I push the first boulder. Pushing the second boulder won’t let me cross to the island!

Image Let’s try that one again!

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Our second attempt starts the same as our first, but I put the bridge somewhere a bit more centralized. I can always walk around the lower Dart Demon if I decide to finish with the lower E.

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This time, after getting the A, we do grab the second bridge.

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And after getting the V and O, we push the upper right boulders away, do not step on any of them, and deploy the second bridge.

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R acquired.

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The I, T, and E aren’t far behind…

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…which presents a problem when our bridges disappear and we’re stuck on the wrong side of the river.

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Carefully routing around the upper boulder in the group that housed one of the Dart Demons, we push the middle boulder in the group to the right, and use it to cross the river. This is the only boulder you can use to get back in this way.

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Upriver awaits.

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Our pop quiz this time has another slightly longer word (“election”) in it. The game is slowly turning up the heat.


Level 17. BIRTHDAY
”A little bird remembered my birthday.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y, in the proper order.
Image Remember, in the word “birthday”, the I-R sounds like an R!

This level is set up to teach us a useful advanced technique involving animals and Dart Demons.

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At the start of the level, we grab the bridge and, having no other options, run onto the peninsula with the apple and the V.

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With still no other options, we feed the zebra and go down to collect the second bridge. Note where the zebra ends up! This’ll be important in a moment.

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We walk back across the isthmus - but the Dart Demon doesn’t fire at us! The secret is this: Demons’ line of fire is blocked if an animal is in the way.

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We cross to the right side of the level, and quickly grab the second apple and the I.

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The R requires pushing a boulder into place to block the Dart Demon…

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And for the rhino guarding the T, we can push the Jeep without much timing. Animals won’t ever walk on letter tiles, so the rhino can’t be trapped by the T - the Jeep will always wall it off from the tile.

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Getting the H, D, and A is very straightforward.

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Then it’s just a long walk back around to pick up the Y.

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Once the trick is shown off, the level is honestly pretty straightforward!

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Hey, JOURNEY’s from Level 6! It looks like once we beat a puzzle level, we unlock its word to be used in later pop quizzes.


Level 18. QUARTER
Quite unusual— a red toad eating radishes.”

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This level looks empty, but it actually contains a significant threat.

Image Collect the letters of the word Q-U-A-R-T-E-R, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget the U in the word ”quarter”!
Image An alligator will come out of the water if you tempt him.

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OK, look up at the top. See that green guy in the river? That’s the alligator. Alligators are a pain in the caboose.

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By default, alligators patrol the edges of the river (or whatever body of water they happen to start in).

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However, if you get too close to an alligator, it will abandon its patrol behavior and start following you. They actively move to be as close to you as possible, so it’s not like you can stand still, like tigers.

Note that an alligator will happily follow you on land or water depending on what terrain is nearby. They’re amphibious!

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The conditions to get an alligator to stop following you are a little fiddly. My current theory is as follows:

[1] When an alligator is patrolling, it has no ‘home position’.

[2] When an alligator stops patrolling and starts following you, its home position is set to wherever it was last swimming before it started following you.
[3] If an alligator is far enough from either you or its home position, it will stop following you and return there, or at least start swimming again.

I'm not quite sure if this is accurate, but no matter what, the exact combination of requirements makes alligators hard to shake off.

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We already got the Q before the alligator started chasing us. Now we need to get the U, but it looks like we’ll have to take the long way around. We grab the bridge and set out.

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We’re ready to get the U! Let’s head down there and… whoops.

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We head right to lose the alligator, but I return and grab the U a little too early… or late.

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Image Let’s try that one again!

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OK, let’s be smarter about it this time.

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After grabbing the Q, we shake off the alligator in the same way as we did before and go get the bridge.

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This time, we wait for the alligator to pass the peninsula before trying for the U. The alligator starts tracking us again, but hiding in the bottom left corner is far enough away that it convinces it to mind its own business.

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The U has been acquired.

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With the alligator still on the other side of the river, we get the A-R-T, and follow it up with the E.

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The ‘gator does start tracking us again as we go to get the R, but we hide in the corner again and it goes back to swimming.

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And we’re done.

Image Back to the raft!

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This is, sadly, not the last we’ll see of alligators, though.

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Hey, “march” showed up in the pop quiz again! Maybe that’s when this LP’ll be done. :V:

I’m actually surprised ‘FLY’ is in the game, too. Three-letter words seem a bit short for a spelling challenge.

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Yobi checks in.

Image A minute to learn to spell the word, a lifetime to display the knowledge!


Level 19. WHITE
White hippo’s invaded the enemy.” (sic)

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Image Collect the letters of the word W-H-I-T-E, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the W-H sounds like a W!
Image The Wind Demon can make progress impossible!

Coming in to make our life annoying, it’s the fellow that blows hot and cold, the Wind Demon!

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Wind Demons can blow wind up, down, left, right, or diagonally. They’ll always turn to face us.
As their appearance might suggest, Wind Demons blow wind that pushes us away from them!

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The wind blows at the exact speed we move, so by walking against it, we’ll be able to stop our movement - but that’s all.

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After taking the long way around, we go back and grab the W.

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Getting the H requires a similar detour. Note that the wind demon in the bottom right is blowing us around through a tree - like with Dart Demons, trees obstruct your movement, but not Demons’ effects.

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After getting the H, we let the lowest Wind Demon blow us to the river crossing. Note how we stop briefly when we hit the boulder - boulders count as ‘solid walls’ that only we can move, so we can stop and collect ourselves without risk of falling in the river.

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One river crossing later, we step into the gap in the trees and are blown around to the I, T, and E.

Image Back to the raft!

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This level was, arguably, another tutorial - but we’ve been able to find out how Wind Demons work pretty effectively, so it’s served its purpose.
Wind Demons’ gusts have infinite range, by the way.

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The level also doubles as a breather (ha) level, because what’s in store for us next can only really be described as ‘some dexterity required’.


Level 20. TONIGHT
Tonight only nurses in green hats talk.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word T-O-N-I-G-H-T, in the proper order.
Image Remember the silent letters G-H in the word “tonight”!
Image Potions are rare and powerful - use them wisely!

Oh boy, oh boy, another trinket level! This one isn’t going to be as easy as the first one. The only way to get at the trinket is to approach from the bottom edge of the screen - which is coincidentally guarded by a hungry tiger. We’d have to tangle with this tiger even if we only wanted the G in “tonight”, but luring him out enough to get the trinket is going to be a job and a half.

By the way, that blue bottle at the bottom of the screen? This is the potion Yobi was talking about. There’s several different types of potions in game, each with their own appearance and effect.

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We head to get the bridge first. We’re not going to grab the T here because we’ll be on this side of the river after getting the H, and I have no idea where that tiger is going to end up once the level’s nearly over.

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Instead, we set up the bridge and get the T on the left side. This also gives us wiggle room so we don’t accidentally step on this T after collecting the N and I.

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We grab the O, N, and I. We won’t need the apple for the rhino - once we get the trinket, we’ll be able to block it with the boulder.
(It’s possible some of you may have figured out what the potion does at this point. Don’t worry - I’ll give all the details when we do get there.)

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Seeing a tiger chasing me, I automatically run away from the G. Then I realize my mistake.

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When I finally grab the G, well…

Image Let’s try that one again!

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We start over, cross the river, and pick up the letters T-O-N-I.

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This time, we grab the G and run like hell. We eventually lose the tiger around a corner.
However, there’s a problem. If we’re to go down to the bottom left corner of the screen, we need to get the tiger farther away so it doesn’t catch up to us.

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To try and bait the tiger out, I walk vertically where it can see me…

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…and that’s how I get reminded that tigers will chase you when they’re really close, even if you stand still.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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Image T-O-N-I-G-H-T is the word.

Third time’s the charm?

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We gather the letters up to the G, and run from the tiger, putting us about where we messed up before.

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This time, though, we go over to the right side of the block of trees. Tigers can see through trees, so this tiger starts following us again - but this time, we’ve got a bunch of space between it and us!

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We go up carefully, then walk to the right (even though we’re not going anywhere) to get the tiger to try and sneak up on us. This strands it around the corner, and we can go back down and it won’t follow.

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Now we can finally safely head down the left corridor. The tiger stops chasing us when we go around the corner.

Let’s see what this potion does, shall we?

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When we pick up the potion, it appears in the third line of the board over Yobi’s head - the one that was previously unused. In addition, a shimmering sound effect starts playing that overrides most other sounds.

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The potion we’ve grabbed is a Walk on Water potion. We use it to cross the river!

Quick design sidebar: why is this a potion, and not a bridge? It’s possible that if the tiger was chasing you more closely, it could come around the corner (maybe; I don’t know for sure) and keep chasing you here. There wouldn’t be time to lay down a bridge, but running onto the potion and then the water would provide a highly effective set piece on ‘potions can do really cool stuff’.

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Trinket get #2!

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With our secondary objective complete, we start pushing the boulder up so we can get at the H.

Note that the potion icon in the inventory has turned dim. Potions last for a limited time (the Walk on Water potion lasts 11 seconds), and ours is about to run out.

In case you’re wondering: if you’re still on water when the potion runs out, you’ll go dunk in the lake, followed by Yobi’s standard one-liner.

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The rhino is trapped, and we grab the H. Note that the tiger’s following us again.

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At this point, though, the level is effectively won. We grab our second T and head for the finish.

Image Back to the raft!

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Phew! Not going to lie, I was sweating during the tiger chase segments. If you don’t know how to manage tiger movement or haven’t any idea what’s up with the potion, getting the trinket feels like it’d be near impossible.

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Once again, pop quizzes (or should I call them R-E-V-I-E-Ws?) have been bumped up, this time to 5 words.

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And back on the map, we have another shiny trinket in our possession. But we’re still only 20% of the way upriver! I’m sure the rest of the journey will be even more long and perilous.

But fun.


Next Time on Spelling Jungle: We have to do a lot of fast and/or precise footwork.

User avatar
So with that potion you could've walked up the river or surfed around a lake? Or is it just useful for crossings?

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DKII wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:43 am
So with that potion you could've walked up the river or surfed around a lake? Or is it just useful for crossings?
It lasts for 11 seconds, so I could have totally walked up the river once I was on it. It lets you walk on any water until it wears off!

Maybe I should have flexed by walking up river and getting the H from the top... nah, then I'd have missed the trinket.

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I'm assuming we're gonna be seeing more dramatic applications of that potion in later levels, if the difficulty curve so far keeps up.

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I can confirm there are several different types of potion. I've seen two so far in the amount I've recorded.

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Episode 5: Fast Fingers and/or Feet Required

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With the second trinket collected, the game has begun in earnest! We’ve still got a good 80% of the way to go, though.


Level 21. AFRAID
”You need aid when you are afraid.”

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Don’t think I don’t see that alligator there! Most of the level is close to the river, too, making it a bit harder than QUARTER.

Image Collect the letters of the word A-F-R-A-I-D, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget the I in the word ”afraid”!

Nothing to do but get ready to move fast.

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We grab the A, and get ready to quickly run to the bridge so we can get the F.

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However, I fumble on the keys and we don’t get out of the way before the alligator arrives.

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To make matters worse, there’s nowhere to hide that’s far away from the river to shake the gator off! Outrunning it doesn’t work, either, so it’s either start over or get chomped on.

We choose to get chomped on.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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This time, we go around and get the bridge first, then head towards the A when the alligator is detouring around the far right bend of the river.

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After grabbing the A, I try to find a good place to put the bridge. Alligators won’t swim past bridges, so you can trap them with them.

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Instead of trying to place the bridge in the obvious locations - at the tips of one of those big middle peninsulas that stick out into the river - I decide I’ll try and trap the ‘gator up at the top, where it can’t come out of the water due to the grass.

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It doesn’t work. When the alligator gets close, it locks onto us, and we can’t get it to swim past us so we can throw the bridge.

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With no other good options, we deploy the bridge, head to the right edge of the screen to shake the alligator off, then double back and collect the F when it’s not there.

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Getting the R and A is easy, and by the time we go down to get the I, the alligator is heading back to the top of the screen and is far away from us.

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On our return trip to the D, though, we walk back around…

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Waiting until the alligator is taking the long way around before finishing our trip to the D. (Though I ended up messing around and waiting a bit too long, as seen above.)

Image Back to the raft!

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Alligators will never not be annoying, but the long river switchbacks of this puzzle at least helped with this one. I wonder what the next ‘gator level will be like?

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We finish the quiz without any trouble. A few short words are still hanging around, surprisingly.

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This time, Yobi delivers my personal favorite proverb…

Image If it is worth writing, it is worth writing right!


Level 22. QUITE
Quite useful is the eraser!”

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Hey, parts of the level are missing! I’m sure Yobi can explain.

Image Collect the letters of the word Q-U-I-T-E, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget the U in the word “quite”.
Image Don’t get too close to the pit! It’s a long way down!

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Pits are completely harmless as long as we don’t step into them. They don’t have any safety railings or anything, though, so we'll have to be careful.

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While normally the best strategy for dealing with pits is to stay far away from one, levels with pits tend to feature narrow land bridges that require careful maneuvering, for some reason.

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The Q and U are no problem, at least, because we can stick to the outside edges of the puzzle area.

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Crossing the river, we head, with care, to the spit of land that has the I.

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On our way back, the inevitable finally happens.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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I should mention that for all its good points, Spelling Jungle has one flaw: its controls are kind of slippery.

To be specific, the game is divided into a grid which is half the size of a single square tile. If a movement key is being held on (as far as I can tell) any frame on which your character is in a grid half-square, they will proceed to the next grid half-square and this action cannot be canceled. This is awkward because it’s easy to undershoot or overshoot the exact position you want, especially when you have to make a hard turn.

Combine that with bottomless pits with narrow walkways, and— well— accidents can happen...

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Getting the Q, U, and I is the same as before, but this time we carefully walk across the chasms and get the T.

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That’s the dangerous part over. For the E, we hug the outer wall again.

Image Back to the raft!

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OK, I lied. We have to take care heading back to the raft, too! But now that’s everything.

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Another quiz, and off we go.


Level 23. AUTHOR
Authorities understand that hippo’s once ruled.” (sic)

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Image Collect the letters of the word A-U-T-H-O-R, in the proper order.
Image Remember, there’s no E-R in the word “author”!

Hello, Yobi? I’d like to lodge a complaint. Your mnemonic is having an off day. Not only is there a grammar error with the apostrophe, but you had the perfect excuse to start it “Authors understand…”— and you didn’t.

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Jokes aside, this level doesn’t seem too A-U-F-U-L— though there is a bit of fast footwork, as it introduces an advanced maneuver we’ll have to do again later.

Note the range on the fireball that’s being tossed at us! This is being thrown by the upper left Fire Demon, which means we won’t be able to pass by it while we’re on the left side of the river.

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This means that we can get the A with the bridge, but we’ll have to cross the river at a different spot to get the O.

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The only tricky part about getting the U, T, and H is making sure not to wander into the range of the lower Fire Demon.

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Now we come to the O. The only safe way across the river is this big boulder. And as for how we get back…

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…we run like hell! This trick is the one I tried unsuccessfully on FAVORITE, but it is possible - provided the alignment of boulders is set up beforehand so we can actually do it. We have about enough time to run over there and immediately run back before the boulder sinks.

This isn’t the last time we’ll have to do this.

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We collect the R, and the level becomes far less dangerous.

Image Back to the raft!

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I wonder why that rhino and that apple were in the level in the first place? You can’t push animals onto hot coals, so using a Gazelle to block a Fire Demon was out of the question. It must have just been a red herring.

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A tough level makes for an easy quiz, or so they say…

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Wait, is this a quiz or Yobi’s shopping list?!

Best get upriver before we find out.


Level 24. COULD
Could old Uncle Larry dance?”

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Image Collect the letters of the word C-O-U-L-D, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget the O-U in the word “could”!
Image An elephant will move for food, but ends up back where it started!

We’ve got a new member of the animal crew: the elephant!

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We’re clearly going to need to bribe that elephant to get the C. Unfortunately, the only apple is within range of a rather territorial lion, as demonstrated by how he reacts to our grabbing the bridge.

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As the saying goes, “get in, get out, get even apple”.

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We push the elephant out of the way and nab the C.

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This is where it gets interesting. Once the apple wears off, the elephant returns to its home space, in front of the C! This makes their behavior about halfway between that of a lion (but a harmless one) and a zebra.

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Setting up the bridge, we get the O - but we can’t get the U from this position, because we can only walk past the Dart Demon safely if we’re on the left side of the river.

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Boulder push time!

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Our next task - getting the L - runs the risk of getting us eaten by a hungry lion. We’re not even going to bother going for the left D, for this reason.

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It’s a close shave, even going full speed. If we’d stopped, it’d have been curtains!
Well. It’d have been “let’s try that one again” time, at least.

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We grab the safe D, and we’re done.

Image Back to the raft!

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It’s interesting how empty this level looks without the various items, animals, and enemies to spice it up. No fancy floor types here!

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Today’s pop quiz is fairly straightforward… but the next level is less so than we’d like.


Level 25. BURN
Burping unicorns requested nuts.”

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Whoa, that’s a minefield of hot coals! To get the bridges, we’re going to have to in and around without stopping. And not only do we risk the hot coals roasting us, but if we go in too far, the Fire Demons will flambé us. Actually spelling the word’s going to be a cakewalk in comparison.

Image Collect the letters of the word B-U-R-N, in the proper order.
Image Remember the U in the word “burn”.

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We immediately go for the first bridge, overshoot by half a grid square, and get barbecued by two Fire Demon fireballs at once.

This would a good time to remind everyone that Spelling Jungle’s slightly dubious controls exist.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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This time, we get into the hot coals, snag both bridges, and get out again, in one smooth movement.

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Getting the B and U are no sweat, now that we have both bridges.

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Then it’s just one smooth run to the finish.

Image Back to the raft!

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Something to consider: we are now 1/4 of the way upriver! We’re making serious progress…

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…after we finish one more pop quiz, that is.

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I remember when I was a kid. This game was so full of generalized wonder and mystery.
It helps that I never managed to get this far back then - the game was on the school computers, where save files had a tendency to disappear.

Well, we can make up for lost time now.
Onwards!

Next Time on Spelling Jungle: It’s time for some animal antics!

User avatar
Requiring precise maneuvering with remarkably imprecise controls is an interesting design decision for a spelling game...

User avatar
DKII wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:15 am
Requiring precise maneuvering with remarkably imprecise controls is an interesting design decision for a spelling game...
Funny story. You know how it has 'US Patent' on the title screen? Yobi's synchronized sound animations and lip flaps were patented technology!

My guess that's where the dev time went, and maybe slightly less into the game aspects of it.

ALSO: Hold on to this thought, because something related is going to come up in Blizzard.

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Reports of my death are not only exaggerated, but this evening, I bring you a special ELECTION update!

Episode 6: Special ELECTION Update ft. Animal Antics

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Now strap in, folks. We’ve got another set of five levels today, and several are going to be particularly hairy… pun intended.

Image There is much left to explore!


Level 26. FRIEND
”I’ll name each friend before I end.

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Image Collect the letters of the word F-R-I-E-N-D, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the I is silent in the word ”friend”!

Wow, lotta animals around these parts. The tricky bit is going to be circumnavigating the Straits of Rhino over there on the left.

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The F comes quickly, but the R is on the other side of the river. We’ll need to duck past the rhino to get the bridge.

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Getting in to get the bridge is easy, but getting back out’s a lot harder; the gazelles keep blocking the rhino’s way, forcing it to turn around. We almost get skewered!

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Once we get out of there, we place the bridge right where the raft was - it’s just far away from either lion that neither of them will be bothered.

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We get the R, and…

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Uh oh.

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I quickly realize that, with the bridge where I put it, there’s no way to get back across without attracting the attention of at least one lion.

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Running for it proves futile.

Image Let’s try that one again!

Interestingly, this lion’s behavior shows off something that I only noticed later: the half-square on either side of a bridge acts as a ‘safe zone’ that animals can’t enter. The lion was only able to KO us once we were out of that ’safe zone’. This is going to be relevant again a little ways down the line.

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Image F-R-I-E-N-D is the word.

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We collect the F and dodge the rhino again, but this time, we set the bridge up at the bottom edge of the screen. Not only is this area out of the lions’ range, it’s also protected by grass in case the lower lion gets too interested.

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We collect the R, and the lion ignores us.

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Getting the I and the E is no trouble, and while we do have to attract the attention of the lion to get the N, we make sure to keep on the grass so that it can’t get to us.

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After one last rhino-dodging session, we grab the D, and we’re D-O-N-E.

Image Back to the raft!

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This level isn’t too hard once you figure out where to place the bridge, overall - the apples can be used to feed the gazelles or the rhino to get out of a tight spot, but it’s also possible to stand in the gazelles’ way to trick them into paths where they won’t block the rhino in the first place.

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Once again, Yobi offers a pop quiz between levels.


Level 27. WERE
Were eels really electric?”

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This one’s a breather level. There’s no hazards in sight, just a long walk and some bridges.

Image Collect the letters of the word W-E-R-E, in the proper order.
Image Some words are not spelled the way they sound!

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We disembark, grab the bridge, and use it to get more bridges.

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From here, we go to the first island, with the E’s…

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…to the next island, with the R’s…

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…and then use the bridge on that island to get to the final island and grab the W.

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We backtrack slightly to get our first E, before unbacktracking to the nearest R.

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All done!

Image Back to the raft!

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We’re left on E Island once the bridges disappear, so we push a boulder to get back to getting back to the raft.

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This pop quiz is harder than the level itself was! A whole bunch of 6+-letter words.


Level 28. ADVISE
”Only advise if you’re sure you are wise.”

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I like this level’s mnemonic. Instead of initialisms, like we had in a lot of earlier words, here the phrase finds the important part of the word in smaller words. FRIEND had another good one of this type, too.

The level itself… well, we’re going to be interacting with animals a lot, and this one might require some fast feet early on.

Image Collect the letters of the word A-D-V-I-S-E, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget! The S can sound like a Z!

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We start by grabbing the apples, the A, and the D.

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We have to feed the elephant and push it into the path of the Dart Demon so that we don’t get sniped.
(After we get the V, we get out quickly before the elephant leaves.)

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The I is now gotten. We could just grab the bridge and get the S now - but Dart Demons can shoot through trees, so it wouldn’t end very well.

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Instead, we push the zebra to block the Dart Demon’s path, then cross the river.

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With the E gotten, the level is done.

Image Back to the raft!

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After pushing some boulders, up the river we go….

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…after a pop quiz, of course.


Level 29. DOLLAR
”That doll cost one dollar.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word D-O-L-L-A-R, in the proper order.
Image Remember the two Ls in the word ”dollar”!

Two elephants? We’re moving up in the world. The mud looks like it makes this level more complicated, but I’d say it really makes things more simple.

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We head down first. Not only do we get the D, but we’ll need the two apples to get anywhere in the upper half of the puzzle.

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We have to push a boulder to get back across the river. We manage to stop ourselves from walking onto the mud in time - if we had, we’d grab the R and would have to start over.

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After grabbing the O, it’s time to go get the L. Once we push the elephant out of the way, we can move the boulder into its place.

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While the Wind Demon blows us over to the Ls, note that the elephant hasn’t moved back to its home position - the boulder is in the way.

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We get the two Ls.

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From there, it’s a smooth slide over to get the A - and we use our other apple to push the second elephant away to get back out of the muddy area.

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It’s just a short walk over to the R!

Image Back to the raft!

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With the exception of WERE, each level in this block has had at least three animals or enemies - and FRIEND had more. I wonder how many the next level will have?

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Before we get there, we run into a little trouble in the pop quiz.

Image Wonderful! Spell "north".

…is what Yobi said. But the audio sample is slightly foreshortened, and it sounds a lot like ’N-O-R’ instead.

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After a long time trying to figure out what he said, I go with “nor”.

Image “North” is spelled…

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Thanks, Yobi.

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The rest of the quiz goes by without further trouble.


Level 30. SOUR
Our grapes tasted sour.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word S-O-U-R, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget the O-U in the word ”sour”!

Ohhhhhhhh boy.

Okay, so on first glance, this level appears straightforward if you ignore the trinket. Grab the S, dodge the rhinos to get the O and U, and come back to the near side of the river for the R.
It’s the trinket that complicates things. We need something to block the Dart Demon’s path if we’re going to go grab it, but…

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…the only thing that will work is this boulder, on the other side of the entire level.

Buckle up, folks. It’s going to be a long ride.

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After getting and placing the bridge, we take the long way around the two rhinos and grab the S.

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We push the boulder up next to the O so we can move it right. If we pushed it any farther up, we wouldn’t be able to push it down later.

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From there, we get the O and push it to the right.

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The next step is to push the boulder down to the lower corridor so we can push it farther right. Before we do, though, we sneak up and grab the U.

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It’s only once I’m on the final push do I realize I screwed up.

The rhino won’t let himself be pushed onto grass while he’s active! There’s not enough time for me to take the long way around, feed the rhino, and push the boulder into position - if I had wanted to do that, I would have needed to feed the rhino before I began pushing the boulder.

Still, perhaps there’s a way to salvage this…

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Taking the long way around, I feed the rhino - then try to push him across the bridge!

It doesn’t work. Remember how I mentioned before that the half-square in front of a bridge is a ‘safe zone’ that animals can’t enter? Unlike grass, where you can push animals onto it when they’re fed, bridge entry zones will not admit rhinos under any circumstances.

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To compound this, when the apple wears off, the rhino sees he’s half-on and half-off grass, and moves back to blocking the path.

I decide to honorably give up.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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This time, we put the bridge one square to the left.

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After a narrow escape involving the game’s poor controls and a rhino, we go and collect the S.

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We push the boulder the same way as before…

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…before grabbing the U and pushing the boulder into place.

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It’s only once I try to push the boulder across the river that I realize the flaw in my plan: the rhino is next to us, snout primed to headbutt. Even though the game doesn’t animate it turning around, it’s changing direction fast enough that we make contact with its front end.

On top of this, even if I had successfully pushed the boulder across the bridge, there wouldn’t be a way to get to the left of it to push it to the right side. In short: our initial bridge placement was the correct one.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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Image S-O-U-R is the word.

OK, at this point, it’s clear: we’re going to have to do something about that lower rhino if we want to move the boulder through its territory.

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This time, after pushing the boulder into place…

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…we feed the rhino and push it out of the way. Because it’s fully on the grass, the rhino won’t move even after the apple wears off.

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We grab the U and push the boulder down…

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…and this time, we can finally push it across the river.

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With a bit more pushing, the boulder blocks the Dart Demon, the trinket is acquired, and order is restored.

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Getting the R finishes the level.

Image Back to the raft!

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Finally! That was the hardest trinket puzzle yet.

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Image Only one more to go! Spell the word "election".

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…and the pop quiz has been augmented. We’ll now have to spell at least six words whenever we come here from now on.

(Told you it was going to be an ELECTION update. :v:)

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Our progress upriver is going smoothly! Those trinkets look great - and there's only seven left!


Next Time on Spelling Jungle: Stone walls and hippos galore.

User avatar
Goodness, that level was a beast. Looked pretty easy if you didn't care about the trinket, though.

User avatar
Gloomy Rube wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 4:44 am
Goodness, that level was a beast. Looked pretty easy if you didn't care about the trinket, though.
Yeah, I think I remember someone saying Yobi made you work hard, and it's true! Especially when trinkets are involved.

Next trinket level's easier, though.

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Episode 7: Hippo HQ and Roundabout Routes

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We’re back once again! After the challenge that was SOUR, I can confidently say that the next 10 levels ease off the pressure a little.

Image Ooh! Treacherous times are close!


Level 31. PRETTY
Pat’s red eggs tasted too yucky.”

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We’ve got a gator in the water again! With the high concentration of grass in this level, the challenge isn’t actually the ‘gator as much as it is realizing that the T’s have to be approached from specific directions (to do otherwise risks being broiled).

Image Collect the letters of the word P-R-E-T-T-Y, in the proper order.
Image Remember the two Ts in the word ”pretty”!

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We start heading for the P. Note the fireball here - as I alluded to above, we’ll have to come at the lower T from the right to reach it safely.

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We grab the P, the first bridge, and the R.

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Once the alligator’s far away from us, we wait until the hippo has surfaced and cross on its back. From there, we can grab the E and the second bridge.

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On the way back to the hippo, we have our opportunity to get the first T. We lay the bridge, blocking the alligator’s path, and get onto the grass before it thinks to come up on dry land.

Note that, if we’d tried to lay the bridge anywhere else on the upper half of the island, the Fire Demon would fireball us when we got directly above it.

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Once the gator’s turned around, we go down to the island and grab the T.

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We cross back, then deploy the second bridge, letting us grab the other T. The alligator is now stuck in the left half of the river.

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In one smooth movement, we grab the second T, then head up to shake the alligator off our tail. Then we go back down and grab the Y.

Image Back to the raft!

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This is the third time we’ve met an alligator, but it wasn’t as much of a threat this time as it was before. This is going to continue to be a pattern for a while - not only do we know how to deal with alligators, but upcoming levels with them will have features that make them less of a pain.

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As always, a pop quiz awaits us upriver before we move on.


Level 32. WHOSE
Whose hog ordered six eggs?”

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Image Collect the letters of the word W-H-O-S-E, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget! The S can sound like a Z!

This level looks fairly straightforward, as long as we’re quick piloting our hippos.

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After grabbing the bridge and two apples, we head over past the E and down to the lower right half of the river.

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We walk across the hippos to grab one more apple, then ride a hippo down to the bottom right corner and grab the W.

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On the way back, we park the hippo near the O’s. My intent was to make a bridge of hippos back to the main land segment after grabbing the ‘O’ to save apples, but I didn’t realize we’d just have to ride the hippos again to get to the next letter (S).

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Crossing the bridge, we grab the H.

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Then after crossing back, we ride the hippo and get the O in one move— and then continue on to the S. This was a very risky maneuver - I narrowly avoided being stuck in the middle of the lake.

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However, it paid off. With only one letter left, we ride the hippo back to solid ground, cross the bridge again, and grab the E.

Image Back to the raft!

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I suspect that, if we’d tried to get the O guarded by the lion (the left one) instead of riding the hippo, we’d have ended up in a situation like in FRIEND where we wouldn’t have been able to shake the lion off. Getting this O was much safer overall.

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This pop quiz has longer words than the last one, but we get through it without much trouble.


Level 33. INSTEAD
Instead, Nancy started to eat a dish!”

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Image Collect the letters of the word I-N-S-T-E-A-D, in the proper order.
Image Remember, in the word ”instead”, the A is silent!

This is a pretty straightforward level, but a certain part of it serves as a soft tutorial for something we’ll see again later on.

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After grabbing three apples, we push the elephant out of the way and grab the I - but run back before the apple wears off.

Remember this bit. We have enough apples right now to get through the level without any trouble, but later on, we’ll need this on one specific puzzle.

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Next, we feed the elephant again, pushing it to pass by. This time, we use the boulder to cross the river, then grab the S.

Note that we don’t have to grab the apple just to the right of the boulder. This is our reward for our quick thinking with the elephant. Otherwise, we’d be forced to grab it and get across before the boulder sank - a risky, but just doable move (I think).

(To be fair, I could have just gone across, grabbed the bridge, and gone back for the apple. But I only realized that well after I’d pushed the boulder and written this commentary.)

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We get the T, the E, and the bridge.

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At this point, we can lead the zebra out with an apple so we can get the A. With it collected, we set the bridge and prepare to head for home.

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We make our way back across the river, feed the elephant, and get our hands on the D.

Image Back to the raft!

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The ‘abbreviation mnemonic’ to ‘part-of-word mnemonic’ rate has been awfully on the side of ‘abbreviation mnemonic’ for this current block of levels… sadly. I like the ones where they pull out part of the word - much easier to remember.

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Another pop quiz awaits us, with plenty of long words.


Level 34. NAME
Name a monkey ‘Elroy’.”

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Wait, why ‘Elroy’?

Image Collect the letters of the word N-A-M-E, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the E is silent!

Anyway, it can be hard to see, but this is another alligator level. However, with good management, we can leave Old Bitey in the dust.

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We start by grabbing the bridge we can reach, then waiting far enough away from the river until the alligator is in the upper half of it.

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Deploying the bridge, we get the ’N’. The alligator is now blocked off from any way it can get onto the land, except the one square just up and left of the bridge.

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We get the second bridge while the gator investigates the one we just placed, then we set the new bridge so we can get to the A. The alligator can't come ashore on grass, so it's now trapped in the topmost part of the river!

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We get the A, then ride the hippo across the lake to reach the M.

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A quick hippo ride back across, and the E is ours.

Image Back to the raft!

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Once again, we’ve just had another alligator level where it’s very easy to trap or avoid the alligator. It’s certainly better than the alternative...

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A pop quiz sees us on our way.


Level 35. OFF
Otis feeds frogs.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word O-F-F, in the proper order.
Image Remember the two Fs!

Well, this is unexpected. There’s no difficulty in spelling this word, but there’s going to be quite some danger in getting to where the letter tiles are in the first place!

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We grab the potion. This potion, which we haven’t seen before, provides protection from Dart Demons’ darts. We’ve got a ways to go before it runs out!

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Like the Walk on Water potion, the Anti-Dart potion lasts 11 seconds. This is enough time to run through and past the Dart Demon’s range. Fortunately, the rhinoceros is out of the way when we enter its domain.

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Carefully, we dodge around the rhinoceros, then grab and use the bridge.

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Actually grabbing the letters of O-F-F is child’s play.

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We push a boulder and return to the raft without much trouble.

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There’s one last pop quiz in this level batch, with plenty of hard words to make up for the easy level.

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That concludes our trek for the time being! This batch of levels was definitely easier than the last set, but that’s fine - we could use a breather after things like SOUR and FRIEND.

Hopefully, it’ll continue to be easy for a while…

Next Time on Spelling Jungle: It continues to be easy for a while.

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Odd that it returned to more light puzzles rather than the tricky "action" sequences. Though I can't wait to see how terrible the next trinket is.

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Note: I’m not going to also make videos of the sections any more - it was a drag on my attention and I wasn’t enjoying it. Screenshot format will continue till the end.

Episode 8: Yobi’s Day Off

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We’re still on an easy swath of levels - or rather, the levels’ difficulty comes, not from the puzzles, but from the spelling.


Level 36. COUGH
”I thought I bought enough drops to soothe my cough.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word C-O-U-G-H, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the G-H sounds like an F in the word ”cough”!

OK, so remember how level 35 was OFF? Well, that was the setup. This is the punchline. OFF is spelled phonetically while COUGH is (infamously) not, because English spelling is a gong show.

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Fortunately, as long as we’re careful around the pit, this level isn’t very dangerous or anything.

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Skirting around the pit’s outside edge, we get the C and the O.

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Grabbing the bridge, we deploy it and work our way around to the U.

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After that, the G and H just require being careful where we step.

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Unlike most levels, we do have to pay attention on our way out, with the pit’s continued presence.

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We make it back, though. From here, it’ll be similarly smooth sailing.

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We have another pop quiz, including a visit by our old friend NORTH. It’s not so hard once Yobi’s called you on it one time.

Then, on we go, to…


Level 37. BLUE
Blue lizards understand English.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word B-L-U-E, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the E is silent in the word ”blue”!

A little more complicated than the last one, but not very much. The alligator in the bottom left is something of a baffling inclusion.

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We show why as we walk around its pond! As long as we keep on the grass - which we can always do - the ‘gator can only stare at us.

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We move the elephant out of the way with the apple, and cross the river. To get the B requires us to walk all the way around the level!

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We do, with a pause to let the rhino get out of our way.

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After walking back, we start making an attempt at the L. This is the only tricky part of the level - once we get to the entrance to the grassy area, we immediately have to go downwards. Otherwise, we’ll get hit by the Fire Demon’s fireballs.

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We get the L, and soon after, the U.

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We have a spare apple and could really do without dodging the rhino at this point, so we feed it...

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...then push it out of the way so we can get the E.

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There’s another long walk back before we can head onwards.

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This time, the pop quiz includes our old friend, DOLLAR. (That level with the mud and the elephants.)


Level 38. PRIVATE
”The pirate was private about the things he ate.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word P-R-I-V-A-T-E, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the E is silent!

OK, this level is actually somewhat complicated. The mnemonic is nice, though.

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We start by pushing the Jeep leftwards, blocking in the tiger. We don’t want it chasing us on top of everything else here.

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From there, we can safely get the P and cross the river.

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We grab the R, an apple, and (after a bit of a walk) the I.

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Instead of walking back, we take the opportunity to move the hippo into position. I almost walk off it at the wrong spot, before realizing - we move the hippo next to the E so that we can use it as a bridge later without having to use another apple.

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We repeat what we did with the R and I, but with the V and A - and this time we have to walk back.

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We do, and get the T - then we can walk across the pre-placed hippo to get to the E.

Image Back to the raft!

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Fun fact: If we had pushed the Jeep the other way and avoided the tiger somehow, now we’d be stuck! The Jeep doesn’t disappear after the level ends, and getting the E makes the hippo disappear. With no way to get past the blocking Jeep or recross the river, we’d have to restart.

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Up the river, a fairly easy pop quiz is waiting for us.


Level 39. TRULY
”The truth is there’s no ‘e’ in truly.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word T-R-U-L-Y, in the proper order.
Image Remember, in the word “truly”, there’s no E!

Our string of easy levels continues. The only thing you could call a ‘hazard’ in this level is the gazelle, and all it can do is be annoying.

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We go and get the T… and then walk past the gazelle. By sheer luck, it gets stuck in the raft docking spot as we pass. It won’t bother us for the rest of the level!

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Next, we get the R, then quickly get back on the main path before the gazelle can pass us.

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It’s a long and uneventful walk to the U. We cross the river with the boulder, then walk to the L.

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Getting back across to the river and to the Y is ‘truly’ an easy task.

Image Back to the raft!

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It is nice to see that the game focuses on spelling, and not just gameplay. The more gameplay-intense a level is, the less challenging the spelling is, and vice versa.

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Of course, the pop quizzes get harder as we delve towards the end of the game, but there’s a certain degree of averaging - the difficulty of any word you might be asked to spell can vary, so the real difficulty factor is how long the quiz is.


Level 40. FORTY
Forty orange rats turned yellow.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word F-O-R-T-Y, in the proper order.
Image Remember, in the word “forty”, there’s no E!

OK, so, I really think Yobi’s tip could have been better if he’d said there’s no ‘U’. I’m still generally :P that you don’t spell it ‘fourty’… anyway. It’s our fourth Trinket level! And this trinket is easy to get, as long as you remember what we had to do during INSTEAD.

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We start by grabbing the apple, then pushing the elephant out of the way so that we can get the F.

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However, instead of ducking back out on the space of one apple (the trick demonstrated in INSTEAD), I go down to grab the two more apples by the R.

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Pushing the elephant out of the way, we get the O. Then, I see our current apple total and make a mistake.

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Boldly riding the hippopotamus, I detour around the elephant and down to the boulder by the trinket.

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It’s only after I grab the trinket I realize the mistake: I haven’t grabbed the R yet… and now I’m stuck between getting skewered and grabbing letter tiles out of order. I could ride the hippo to the bottom from where I parked it, but then I’d only have one apple left, and I’d have to use it on the elephant. By the time I would be able to reach the R, the apple would have worn off and I’d be trapped.

I concede D-E-F-E-A-T.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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This time, we’re going to put our apples to better uses.

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We start by feeding the elephant, ducking in to grab the F and an apple, and heading back to the crossroads and north. This way, we can keep an extra apple for use with the hippopotamus.

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After collecting the O, we feed the elephant again, going down to the R. No fancy footwork here - by the time we’ve grabbed the two more apples, the elephant will be back in position.

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So we feed it again. Now we can safely ride the hippopotamus down to where the T is, and not have to worry about our remaining apple count.

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Trinket get!

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If we wanted to style on the level, we could use our one remaining apple to ride the hippo down to the bottom, push the boulder in, and get the trinket that way instead. However, this normally isn’t possible unless you do the trick with the elephant. Instead, we cross back on the hippo, and get the T and the Y to finish the level.

Image Back to the raft!

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It would have been interesting if the game had put the trinket one square to the right of where the boulder is right now. Then you’d have to use the elephant trick to conserve an apple, ride the hippo to push the boulder down, then ride it again to get to the bottom so you could actually collect the trinket.

I wonder - is it possible the trinket was placed there during initial testing? The fact that you can approach that area from the right side certainly hints at it. If it was removed, it was probably because any kids recruited as testers couldn’t figure out the trick. I guess we’ll never know, though.

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There’s one wrinkle awaiting us downriver…

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Since we just passed a trinket level, our pop quizzes have been extended to seven words!
We spell our new word and continue on.

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And that’s the end of a particularly chill stretch of river - but it’s not going to stay this way. The next section of the river should return to the usual level of complexity.

Next Time on Spelling Jungle: Wow, we’re so pushy!

User avatar
Quackles wrote:
Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:47 am
rather, the levels’ difficulty comes, not from the puzzles, but from the spelling.
He says, right before a screenshot with the word spelled out for you in the caption at the bottom. Those pop quizzes are legitimately difficult for the intended audience though.

These kind of feel like filler levels really, but that was pretty common in these games in this era.

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Episode 9: Pushing Through the Jungle

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Welcome back! We’re going to be a bit B-U-S-I-E-R this section than we were last time.

Image Your experience will see you through!


Level 41. BUSY
Bob’s uncle sells yo-yos.”

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Whoa! That’s a lot of zebras. It looks like we have a block puzzle on our hands - albeit one where the blocks can follow you.

Image Collect the letters of the word B-U-S-Y, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the S can sound like a Z!

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Our first priority is to get to the B (and fill up on apples), so we go for the two apples that are on this side of the river.

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We get the zebra on the far left to move away from the herd, then push it onto a patch of grass so it’s out of the way.

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The next step is to move the zebra blocking the bridge so that it’s out of the way. The grass patch around the ‘U’ prevents it from completely blocking the way forward, thankfully.

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Bridge get! We cross the river, grab the B, and (as promised) fill up on apples - though we do have to be careful of the pit.

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With the left side of the river cleaned out, we return by the bridge, detouring around the upper zebra to grab the U. Now the real challenge of the level begins: getting the S and Y without becoming stuck.

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After a bit of thought, we push the centermost zebra up a space, forming a corridor to the zebra that blocks the S.

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From there, it’s just a matter of letting that zebra come to us.

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With the way clear, we can grab the S!

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The Y follows soon after.

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The zebras clear themselves out, and our walk back is simple.

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This isn’t the only time we’ll have to push animals around in this part, though.

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A pop quiz awaits us before our next destination.


Level 42. THOUGH
”I thought I’d race a zebra though I knew he was fast!”

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Image Collect the letters of the word T-H-O-U-G-H, in the proper order.
Image Remember the silent letters U-G-H in the word ”though”!

Another level that has block-puzzle DNA - if only a bit. The mnemonic is also very nice, too.

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After grabbing the apple, we head to the upper part of the level, fake the lion out, and get the bridge.
(I realized much later: animals won't pass over squares with items or letter tiles, so the lion had no choice but to turn back when we went up and to the right.)

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The apple lets us get the zebra out of the way and collect the T. We also deploy the bridge here, before we forget - we won’t need it until we’ve grabbed an H, but this way we don’t put it somewhere else by accident.

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We’re going for the H on the left side of the tree line, but we have a bit of setup to do first. Pushing this boulder down…

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…we grab the H, then move the boulder to the bottom of the level. This ensures we won’t get skewered by the dart demon when we go to collect the U.

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Now, we can go grab the O and the other bridge.

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Getting the U is safe since we moved the boulder. If we had forgotten, we might have had a chance of outrunning the darts on the way to the U, but we’d have gotten hit on the way back!

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We grab the G, then turn around and cross back safely.

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We’ll need a plan to get the other H - the dart demon will make it difficult if we’re not protected.
The boulder we haven’t pushed yet is the plan.

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Shielded by the boulder, we can get the second H safely.

Image Back to the raft!

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In the past two levels, we’ve pushed 5 zebras and 2 boulders. Let’s see how far we can go!

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…after a pop quiz, of course.


Level 43. EARLY
Early ancestors rode large yaks.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word E-A-R-L-Y, in the proper order.
Image Remember, in the word “early”, the A is silent!

Huh boy. It’s another alligator level. And there’s a lot less safe ground this time.
On the other hand, we do have two bridges to place, so hopefully we can trap the ‘gator somewhere out of the way.

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We start by getting the safe E, and a bridge.

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We lay the bridge when the alligator is on the right side, so it’s now cut off from the upper left shore. Arguably it would have been better if we’d trapped the ‘gator up there, but - oh well.

Our next step is to grab the A and the apples. We’ll need both to be able to get the R.

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After crossing back, we feed the elephant, push it to block the dart demon, and grab the R and the bridge in one smooth motion. Because of the grass, the elephant won’t return beyond the entrance of the walled-in area with the demon, but it’s still possible to get stuck in there.

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Our next step is to get the L. We take the long way around even though we have a second bridge.

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I grab the L… and wait.
I’m not sure if I was trying to trap the alligator or waiting until it was out of the way that’d lead to the Y - but either way, I waited way too long (especially with a quick way to finish the level in hand).

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At this point, the alligator is locked on to my position and will not go away. It’s time to start over.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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At first, things play out mostly like before.

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However, after getting the R, we return to where the L was - and place the second bridge far enough up from it that the alligator won’t be able to see us while we get the L.

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This time, though, disaster strikes. I’m too slow ducking onto the grass, and the lion gets close enough that it won’t go away.

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We are left with only one option.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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We stick with the same gameplan for the first half of the level, and it goes off without a hitch. We have E-A-R, two apples, and a bridge.

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This time, though, we put the bridge well above the right side. With that, we prepare to make a run on the L.

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Yoink!

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Now, we can safely cross the bridge, and finally get the Y.

Image Back to the raft!

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Sheesh, that was tough - and it required fairly precise movement with the lion. We’ve now pushed five zebras, two boulders and an elephant so far.

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We have little trouble with this pop quiz, though we have to have Yobi repeat EARTH a few times.


Level 44. FUEL
Fuel underlies every land.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word F-U-E-L, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget the E in the word ”fuel”!

Hey, we haven’t seen a Jeep in a while! Let’s push it.

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Our first push attempt ends with the rhino on the wrong side of the Jeep - we need the Jeep to trap it so we can grab the bridge.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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This time, we get the push right.

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We go around the left side of the fire demon’s grove. Thankfully, the trees are thick enough to block wayward fireballs. Once the rhino is past, we set up the bridge and get the F.

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I walk all the way back to where the elephant’s blocking the way before I realize I’ll need to get the apple that’s on the left side of the river.

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Once we have the apple, there’s just enough time for us to duck in, grab the U and second apple, and run back out. Another apple saved!

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At this point, we go back over and get the E…

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…and then the L. (We have to come back in from the top, because going the other way will lead to us getting roasted.)

Image Back to the raft!

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That was straightforward, after the first bit. We’re now up to five zebras, two boulders, two elephants, and a Jeep. What will we have to push in the fifth and final level of this part?

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(After this pop quiz, of course.)
Fun fact: NEITHER was Level 8 - the second level with zebras.


Level 45. GRADE
Grades really are demon efforts.”

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Well, it turns out that the number of things we’ll be pushing in this final level is zero. It’s another mud level! In this level, though, a lot of backtracking will be required.

Image Collect the letters of the word G-R-A-D-E, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget - the E is silent!

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After going left from the raft, we head up and around to get the G.

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To get the R, though, we have to go back the way we came - up, left, down, and right when we’re near the bottom of the level.

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And to get the A, we first have to head back to where the G was! I did warn there’d be a lot of backtracking.

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Now, we can just head left and down to get the A.

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Getting the bridge requires another ridiculously complex route.

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Once we have it, we can make our way to the river, and the one patch of non-muddy ground.

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We place the bridge, then head across, turning downwards to snag the D.

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Getting the final E is no sweat.

Image Back to the raft!

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So the final tally stands at five zebras, two boulders, one jeep, two elephants…

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…and five pop quizzes.

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Of course, we haven’t gotten the next trinket by a long shot - so we’re going to be doing a lot more leading animals around by the nose as we continue.


Next Time on Spelling Jungle: 10 out of 10 zebras say their levels are fantastic.

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Episode 10: A Decade of Zebras

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There’s a theme in this section. See if you can spot it.


Level 46. THIRSTY
Thirsty hippos insist rootbeer seltzer tastes yummy.”

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Hey, the mnemonic misspelled ‘root beer’! And there’s no way to get that potion, amusingly enough. It’s just there for decorative purposes.

Image Collect the letters of the word T-H-I-R-S-T-Y, in the proper order.
Image Remember, in the word “thirsty”, the I-R sounds like an R!

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We start by grabbing an apple and the nearest ’T’. However, to get the H and I will require some advanced maneuvering.

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Here’s why: if we try and come back from getting the I, it’s likely the lion will follow us and we won’t be able to step off the lower grass safely. So we need to block the lion in somehow.

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And that ‘somehow’ is to precisely move the zebra so it blocks the lion - but not so far that it blocks passage on the grass. Here, I’m just a half-square off.

I’m not sure if I can stand safely on half a square of grass if the other half-square is a pit, and I don’t think so - so it’s time to start over.

Image Let’s try that one again!

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This time, we skip getting the T, and just grab the apple. We want to make sure this works before we commit time to the rest of the level.

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I go the wrong way, the zebra follows, and it all ends up with the apple wearing off before the zebra can get into place. And we don’t have more apples!

Image Let’s try that one again!

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OK, we’ll do it right this time - I swear.

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We got it!

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We can now get the T and the H, without worrying about anything more complex than not falling into the pit.

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Getting the I requires carefully following the grass along the edge of the pit, but we don’t have to worry about the lion any more, at least.

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Our next step is to get the R and S, which will mean crossing the river. We push the two boulders to get across, being careful not to fall into the pit ourselves.

There are some interesting things to note in the above images. First - the lion was still tracking us as we went back past the zebra, so moving the zebra was probably required to return safely. (There’s a small chance we could have gone to the right of the stone pillar, on the corner of grass by the pit, but I’m not sure if that would have been enough to make the lion turn back.)

The second interesting thing is that we only pushed the boulder halfway into the pit, and it fell in. Don’t mess around with pits!

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We get the R, bridge, and S, then use the bridge to get back across the river.

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There’s a fairly safe route to the second T by hugging the top wall.

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Finally, we have to route around the zebra and pit again to get to the Y.

Image Back to the raft!

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After detouring around the pit one last time, away we go.

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There is, as always, a pop quiz.


Level 47. TRAIN
”Ride a train in the rain.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word T-R-A-I-N, in the proper order.
Image Remember, the I is silent in the word ”train”!

Whoa, the devs were having fun when they designed this level! The gazelles are all milling around like train cars - and the zebras are like passengers waiting by their station.

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We set out and grab the bridge.

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The gazelles catch up with us as we round the corner and head to the T. The resulting collisions send them off in the other direction - not as tightly spaced, either.

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We reverse direction to try and not bump into the gazelles again as we go towards the R. We don’t quite make it, sadly - but we do at least get ready to cross the river.

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By the time we collect the R, a gazelle crash is imminent.

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Our presence introduces a lot of stochastic chaos as we go to grab the A.

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Everyone is at least going in the same direction by the time we get the I.

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And chance run-ins mean the gazelles are all back in sequence (mostly) once we get the N.

Image Back to the raft!

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Sadly, the zebras are gone by the time our ‘train’ arrives at their ‘station’.

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The pop quiz is mostly uneventful… until I typo.

Image “Famous” is spelled…

Image F-A-M-O-U-S. “Famous”.

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After that, it all goes smoothly. On to the next zebras! Er, level.


Level 48. THOUGHT
”I thought I bought enough drops to soothe my cough.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word T-H-O-U-G-H-T, in the proper order.
Image Don’t forget the silent letters G-H in the word ”thought”!

Whoa, this level has everything! A good mnemonic, a complex level design, a tough word to spell - and a zebra.

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We have to pick our moment to get past the dart demon and rhino unscathed. A patch of grass by the O provides a safe zone.

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We grab an apple, then move the elephant out of the way and grab the T. Note that we have to collect everything on one apple this time - we’ll need the second apple for the zebra, and we don’t get more. The difficulty’s ramping up!

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We wait until the rhino is out of the way to grab the H…

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…and take the long way around to get the O.

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We lure the zebra out of the way so we can get the U, but we’ll have to take the long way around to reach it.

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This involves following closely behind the rhino, then ducking into the gap in the stone wall so it can stomp past. (We get the U and bridge when it’s gone.)

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After dodging the dart demon’s darts, we’re back down by the river. We lay down the bridge and get the G.

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The H and T finish the word.

Image Back to the raft!

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Honestly, that level was really fun! Props to the designers.

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The pop quiz goes by quickly, too.


Level 49. POISON
Poison oak itches so often now.”

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Whoa! That’s an intimidating-looking level. But it’s less dangerous than it appears.

Image Collect the letters of the word P-O-I-S-O-N, in the proper order.
Image Remember the O-I in the word ”poison”.

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The tiger won’t walk on hot coals, so we can walk past it safely.

Also: did you notice the alligator in the river? This level is pulling out all the stops!

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Rather than take our chances with the rhino, we cut across the hot coals to get to the P.

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We have to do another slightly precise maneuver to get the first O, going in to the eye of the skull and then turning back without crossing into the rhino’s path.

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To get to the I will require a bridge. We go along the top, pushing the boulder over (but not into the river just yet).
We grab the bridge when the alligator is away.

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For some unfathomable reason, I take the long way back around instead of heading down through the upper left ‘crossbone’.

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When we get to the river, the alligator starts tracking us (note that it can come out of the water where we’d want to lay the bridge). We have to wait for it to go before we can get the I.

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We finally figure out there’s a shortcut on our way to the S.

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Getting the letter requires us to do a boulder push, run across, and then immediately run back. Fortunately, the alligator can’t bite us while we’re on the boulder.

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We run through the ‘eyes of the skull’ to get the O, and then keep on going.

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And once the rhino passes by, we can collect the N.

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A straight shot through the hot coals and we’re on our way.

(Fun fact: I had to play this level twice. The first time, I hesitated on the hot coals while getting the second O, and whoops! But the second playthrough was pretty much exactly the same to that point, so I decided not to show it.)

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We have one more pop quiz once we’re past the level. There’s even a word from a level we’ve seen before - EARLY, from Level 42.


Level 50. HALFWAY
Half is only halfway there.”

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Image Collect the letters of the word H-A-L-F-W-A-Y, in the proper order.
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Kind of an appropriate choice of words for level 50 of a 100-level game, huh? It’s a trinket level, too, and to get today’s trinket, we will have to lure away a ridiculous number of zebras.

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We start by getting the H, and the only A that’s accessible to us. We’re going to lure the zebra to the right of it away first, once we have some apples.

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However, there’s only one apple on this side of the river, and it’s reserved for the elephant blocking the way to the rest the other side.
We cross by boulder, and I almost waste an apple by pushing the elephant somewhere it would block the path.

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We snag the L, F, W, and as many apples as we can carry. Now the real fun begins.

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Back on the right side of the river, we wait for our moment. We want to deal with the rhino sooner, rather than later, and the zebra to our right gives us the perfect way to do it.

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It takes some fancy footwork, but we manage to trap the rhino with the zebra, and get it out of the way to boot!

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We grab the A, and end up pushing the uppermost zebra as far as it’ll go. We’ll need room to maneuver to move the other 5 zebras blocking the way to the trinket.

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After some indecision, we move the third zebra to the lower right corner of the fenced-in area. Four more to go.

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The fourth zebra goes next to the third.

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We place the fifth zebra next to the other two we dragged away - but not too far over to the left. If it was all the way left, it’d block the way to the Y.

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Since there’s now space just before the upper gap in the right stone wall, we lure the sixth zebra there.

We now have two apples and one zebra left to move, with the requirements that it lets us get the trinket, without blocking our way to the Y afterwards. The only question is, how shall we do it?

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Up to the gap in the stone wall…

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Hugging it on the other side, leaving a completed path behind…

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And the way to the trinket is clear.

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Finally, we can get the Y and finish the level.

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So now we get to the reason I called this part what I did. We’ve had to deal with not fewer than 10 zebras in this section!
(It was actually 12, but ‘Decade’ sounded cooler than ‘Dozen’.)

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We have a pop quiz, but…

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It’s been extended again. Our last word is FAMOUS, which I flubbed earlier - and I almost make that same mistake again!
But we clear it, and move on. From hereon, we’ll have to spell eight words each time we’re here.

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And there we have it; we’re halfway up the river. But the going is only going to get tougher from here…

Next Time on Spelling Jungle: We cheat.

Quackles wrote:
Sun Mar 07, 2021 4:09 am
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...Mickey?

User avatar
Those levels were definitely a step up both in the puzzle solving and the tricky maneuvering.

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