Each of the ten rounds of play contains a cluster of quotations from famous personalities. Depending on the round, you'll use one of three familiar game mechanics to reveal the quotes. The first is speed-typing, in which you type letters in order to spell out the words above. However, you can only see three upcoming letters, so use caution when guessing ahead. The second is a word rearranging game, in which you use the mouse to drag words into their proper order. The third is akin to Hangman played against the clock. Type or click on letters to fill in the blanks.
Each round consists of a few puzzles (the number increases on later rounds), followed by a bonus question. And it's a simple bonus question; all you have to do is identify the author of one of the quotes from the round you just played… you were paying attention, right?
There are 200 quotes to unlock, which gradually pick up in length and difficulty as you progress through the game. Each round has a bronze, silver, and gold medal target score that require tremendous accuracy and speed. You might need to use a bit of memorization to get high scores, but then again, what's wrong with being able to rattle off your new pearls of wisdom to your friends?
Analysis: Sentences might not be original (given that it's a combination of three other games), but this gives it the advantage of being a game you can quickly pick up and play—because you already know the rules—and replay because of how much there is to accomplish and learn. There's a good variety of quotes to work with, from the simple, familar lines ("I have a dream," "Carpe diem") to the more complex and thoughtful, to the comical quips and one-liners, and even a few Bushisms thrown in for good measure.
Visually, Sentences isn't mind-blowing, but then again, there's beauty in the simplicity. Almost all of the game takes place with white letters on a black background, and any use of color is made to grab your attention (such as "Oops, You Missed A Letter!" Red and "Good Job, Here's Your Bonus!" Green). It won't be long before you're good friends with that jovial font (is it Cooper?) and the slideshow-esque transitions.
While learning something might not be your first priority when playing a game like this, Pictogame has made sure that the opportunity is still there. Clicking on an author's name brings up the Wikipedia entry on that person. On the flip side, Sentences still qualifies as an advergame, since you can purchase a t-shirt, hat, mug, apron, or other consumable with any quote from the game on it. Luckily, the advertising is as low-key as the game itself, so you likely won't notice it, because you'll be busy memorizing quotation authors (hint hint).
Sentences is simple to play, tricky to master, and has a little bit of an educational edge. Give it a try, and you may find, like Denis Diderot, that "Pithy sentences are like sharp nails which force truth upon our memory." Or that your typing skills are rusty. Or, you know, both.