Ian Marsh's Textropolis [App Store, $1.99] has generated quite a following amongst our forum members. An over 500 post thread has produced mostly glowing reviews for the latest word game to hit the App Store.

Not surprisingly, word games have been a popular gaming genre in the App Store. The iPhone's touch screen interface seems to lend itself well to these word puzzlers.

The basic premise of almost all word games is the forming of as many words as possible out of a given set of letters. And a large number of these games tend to fall into either TextTwist (Chicktionary, Lexitron) or Boggle (wurdl, Quordy) type games.

Textropolis, however, manages to offer a somewhat relaxed take by eliminating the time-limits found in other games of the genre. Instead of racing the clock, you are simply challenging yourself to find as many words as possible. Surprisingly enough, this formula has succeeded in producing a both fun and addicting game. One particularly glowing review from the developer of iPhone adventure game 1112 captures this sentiment:

I bought it this afternoon, I can't stop playing.... This is the best text game I played so far, I always was a bit frustrated with timed game, in this one you can pause the puzzle whatever you want and start the next one (if you manage to at least unlock it). it's very addictive

The game starts with a single unlocked city "Kingstown". Textropolis tells us there are 95 combinations of 4-letter-or-longer words based on that city name. To play, you simply start typing in words. No time limits, no penalties for guesses. Just you and the letters. Each word successfully submitted rewards you with the definition of the word flying across your screen. As you find more words, your city's population (aka game score) increases and you earn achievement stars. Once you find 10% of the words in a given city, the next city is unlocked. This relatively low hurdle to unlock each new city will keep novice players interested, while advanced players can dedicate themselves to reaching higher star achievements. The game also offers a "hint" feature in which you can sacrifice 1000 people from your city's population in exchange for a hint that will fly by the screen.

With 30 starting words and thousands of possible words, this $1.99 game offers plenty of gameplay. Without time limits, it can be a rather relaxing experience that you can pick up and continue at any time throughout your day. While no global or online scores are offered, the game does offer 5 distinct save slots so you can compete with your friends and family members.

The developer's video offers a good look at gameplay (music not included):

Game Details
Name: Textropolis (v1.0.1) Price: $1.99 [Buy]
Developer: Ian Marsh Size: 1.0 MB
Device: Tested on iPhone 3G
Textropolis is a word game in which you find as many words as possible from the letters of cities around the world. Well balanced progression and no time limit offers an ongoing challenge for both novices and experts alike. Trying to find "just one more" word will keep you coming back.

TouchArcade Rating

  • andreas

    Skit is the swedish word for shit. So they should probably change the screenshot for the swedish app store...

  • andreas

    Skit is the swedish word for shit. So they should probably change the screenshot for the swedish app store...

  • Mike

    Too bad they raised the price from 99 cents. While 1.99 isn't bad, I don't think I feel like paying that considering it used to be half the price.

    If they have another sale, I'll buy it in a heartbeat though :)

  • Mike

    Too bad they raised the price from 99 cents. While 1.99 isn't bad, I don't think I feel like paying that considering it used to be half the price.

    If they have another sale, I'll buy it in a heartbeat though :)

  • Pingback: Ian Marsh » Blog Archive » Textropolis on Touch Arcade

  • http://eeenmachine.com Ian Marsh

    Textropolis was released at a well-advertised introductory price which lasted well over a week. I'm sorry you weren't able to take advantage of the sale!

  • http://eeenmachine.com Ian Marsh

    Textropolis was released at a well-advertised introductory price which lasted well over a week. I'm sorry you weren't able to take advantage of the sale!

  • Adams Immersive

    People complain MORE if the price goes DOWN after the early adopters. I think the "introductory sale" system is a good one. I expect I'll do something like that if/when I ever have something to sell.

  • Adams Immersive

    People complain MORE if the price goes DOWN after the early adopters. I think the "introductory sale" system is a good one. I expect I'll do something like that if/when I ever have something to sell.

  • TSP

    I love this game but seldom gets to play it because my wife steals my phone as soon as I get home because of this game.

    I just love the screenshot that says "skit" which means shit in Swedish...lol...

  • TSP

    I love this game but seldom gets to play it because my wife steals my phone as soon as I get home because of this game.

    I just love the screenshot that says "skit" which means shit in Swedish...lol...

  • http://www.1112game.com alex

    The game totally deserve its praise, 1.99 is a really low price, you can even try to sell it a 2.99 considering the quality;)
    Thanks for the free ad btw;)

  • http://www.1112game.com alex

    The game totally deserve its praise, 1.99 is a really low price, you can even try to sell it a 2.99 considering the quality;)
    Thanks for the free ad btw;)

  • Eric

    This game is absolutely amazing (even though, to be quite honest, I'm not the biggest fan of word games). I agree with the reviewer that a lot of it has to do with the elimination of external factors that put pressure on finding words as fast as possible. For once, I can actually challenge the game on my own terms, and I think that is a testament to the popularity of Textropolis.

    Looking forward to the next App by this up and coming developer.

  • Eric

    This game is absolutely amazing (even though, to be quite honest, I'm not the biggest fan of word games). I agree with the reviewer that a lot of it has to do with the elimination of external factors that put pressure on finding words as fast as possible. For once, I can actually challenge the game on my own terms, and I think that is a testament to the popularity of Textropolis.

    Looking forward to the next App by this up and coming developer.

  • steve

    This isn't a comment on this game persay but on the descriptions of games for the iPhone in general.

    I'm hearing "addictive" used to describe nearly every iPhone application both by the developer in their description and user in their reviews. I think we need a new word because addictive has lost its impact.

    Going further, if a game were truly addictive I wouldn't need to abandon it for the latest new .99c app a week later. :p

    I think games by their nature have some sort of hook that keeps you wanting to come back. However, in my opinion a truly addictive game only comes along every so often. On the iPhone I've only found a handful.

    I propose a few perfectly cromulent words for describing games as follows:

    compelled
    fanatical
    devoted
    fiendish
    insatiable
    enthusiastic
    maniacal

  • steve

    This isn't a comment on this game persay but on the descriptions of games for the iPhone in general.

    I'm hearing "addictive" used to describe nearly every iPhone application both by the developer in their description and user in their reviews. I think we need a new word because addictive has lost its impact.

    Going further, if a game were truly addictive I wouldn't need to abandon it for the latest new .99c app a week later. :p

    I think games by their nature have some sort of hook that keeps you wanting to come back. However, in my opinion a truly addictive game only comes along every so often. On the iPhone I've only found a handful.

    I propose a few perfectly cromulent words for describing games as follows:

    compelled
    fanatical
    devoted
    fiendish
    insatiable
    enthusiastic
    maniacal

  • Mike

    This is a great game. It's a nice way to kill a few minutes while waiting for people to show up for appointments, etc. It's totally worth the $2.

  • Mike

    This is a great game. It's a nice way to kill a few minutes while waiting for people to show up for appointments, etc. It's totally worth the $2.

  • Pingback: Another Word Game….But not Bad at All… « iPhone Teacher

  • Ahiru

    great game at a great price (luckily i got it on sale, but still worth it!)

  • Ahiru

    great game at a great price (luckily i got it on sale, but still worth it!)

  • Plantane

    @Steve: I completely agree with you. I've actually started to try not to use the word "addictive" in my App Store reviews. To me, it just doesn't mean anything anymore. Further, I am often reluctant to purchase a word game that is described as "addicting" in the description. I once saw it being used in a screen shot... Surely, in reality, it would not have been accepted. Oh well... Pet peeve.

    On topic, Textropolis is an excellent game. Congrats and thanks, Ian.

  • Plantane

    @Steve: I completely agree with you. I've actually started to try not to use the word "addictive" in my App Store reviews. To me, it just doesn't mean anything anymore. Further, I am often reluctant to purchase a word game that is described as "addicting" in the description. I once saw it being used in a screen shot... Surely, in reality, it would not have been accepted. Oh well... Pet peeve.

    On topic, Textropolis is an excellent game. Congrats and thanks, Ian.

  • http://www.valkyriestudio.net Mike

    Seeing the praise here, I grabbed this game on my way out to work this morning, and it might become my favorite word game on my iPhone (of which I now own ten). Very highly polished, great look to it, and as much as part of me likes a time limit and a bit of pressure, it's nice to see someone doing something different.

    What arn says about it "surprisingly" working is true. While there's no pressure to hurry and find words, knowing there's more, and seeing the cities grow (for whatever reason) compels me to keep looking.

    Great game, and easily worth more than it sells for.

  • http://www.valkyriestudio.net Mike

    Seeing the praise here, I grabbed this game on my way out to work this morning, and it might become my favorite word game on my iPhone (of which I now own ten). Very highly polished, great look to it, and as much as part of me likes a time limit and a bit of pressure, it's nice to see someone doing something different.

    What arn says about it "surprisingly" working is true. While there's no pressure to hurry and find words, knowing there's more, and seeing the cities grow (for whatever reason) compels me to keep looking.

    Great game, and easily worth more than it sells for.

  • randyest

    Textropolis is a great game. Try it and see; it's impossible to explain why/how it's so addictive. Same with scoops (same developer I think.)

    I play 'em like a crazed goon, until my wife steals my iphone :(

  • randyest

    Textropolis is a great game. Try it and see; it's impossible to explain why/how it's so addictive. Same with scoops (same developer I think.)

    I play 'em like a crazed goon, until my wife steals my iphone :(

  • DukeofAnkh

    @Plantane I know what you mean about "addicting"... I'm starting to develop a similar twitch whenever I read it as I do for "could care less"... *sigh*

    Textropolis is a fun game, though. I general dislike word games because I'm really bad at them (I can't spell for a start) but the lack of penalty for guessing wrong is great.

  • DukeofAnkh

    @Plantane I know what you mean about "addicting"... I'm starting to develop a similar twitch whenever I read it as I do for "could care less"... *sigh*

    Textropolis is a fun game, though. I general dislike word games because I'm really bad at them (I can't spell for a start) but the lack of penalty for guessing wrong is great.

  • Pingback: 4 More Games for iPhone | MacWorldGame

  • Pingback: iPhone News Feeds » Blog Archive » 4 More Games for iPhone

  • Maritza Masson

    I love this game! But I have an Androi phone. Is a version for Androi in the plans? Otherwise, I will have to keep borrowing my boyfriend's IPhone!
    Thanks!
    Mari

  • Maritza Masson

    I love this game! But I have an Androi phone. Is a version for Androi in the plans? Otherwise, I will have to keep borrowing my boyfriend's IPhone!
    Thanks!
    Mari