Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).
Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” never considered what would happen if those words were carved from stone—if they were massive monoliths reading “CLIFF” and piles of “ROCK” layered atop each other. That is the world players find themselves in when they play Onomastica.
As the name might suggest, the game explores onomastics—the study of proper names and the origins of names. Players control an origami man as he makes his way through a vast empty space littered with life-sized words, each one representative of the object they spell. You’ll leap onto the word “PLATFORM” and try to jump to the next “PLATFORM” without falling onto the “FIRE” below. Words can completely change with an appropriate prefix or suffix, so you’ll sometimes need to push one or two letters at a time, building “STAIRS” or a “ROCKET” to aid in your journey.
Onomastica is a quick adventure through the literal translation of words, and it would make for a clever introduction to a fuller experience. Imagine climbing through the ascender of the letter “T” in “TUBES” before falling out the “S” as the letters of “WATERFALL” drop around you, shattering on the pointed serifs of some “STALAGMITES” below. That’ll break some bones, for sure.