Category Archives: Word

I feel like it's pretty hard for a letter game to distinguish itself at this point in the App Store's life. Much like any long-in-the-tooth genre, new entries are starting to feel far more similar to each other than different. AlphaBear [Free], the latest from Triple Town [Free] developer Spry Fox, looks into the developer's past for inspiration. Panda Poet is a web game that has you making words to create bigger and more numerous pandas than your opponent. It's kind of a word game crossed with Othello, and if I may put on my day job hat for a second here, it's been invaluable as an English study tool for some of the kids I teach. Though it works fine in mobile browsers, it's not available as a native mobile app, and you really do need two human players to get the most out of it. In short, there's room to grow the concept, and that's sort of what AlphaBear does...

King's got their formula down pat by now. First, take a puzzle concept that has shown some success in the past, be it Bejeweled, Peggle [$0.99], Puzzle Bobble, or anything else. If it's not already stage-based, change it so that it is. Then dial up the difficulty gradually, spiking it now and then to tempt players towards buying power-ups. Introduce new levels regularly, new gimmicks almost as often, do the whole thing up in a sharp package, and wait for the money to come in. No one can deny the success they've had at it, to be sure. But apart from Candy Crush Saga [Free]'s follow-up Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free], King's had trouble making their games stick of late. Their major successes, the two Candy Crush games, Farm Heroes Saga [Free], and Pet Rescue Saga [Free], continue to hang on the higher positions of the top grossing charts, but other efforts like Diamond Digger Saga [Free] and Paper Pear Saga [Free] have gone nowhere. My gut tells me there's a pattern here, and that same instinct tells me that King's latest, AlphaBetty Saga [Free], might suffer the same fate...

Imagine you’re in a room by yourself. Every so often someone comes by and slips a piece of paper under the door with Chinese characters on it. You don’t know Chinese yourself, but you do have a book that can help. You simply look up the characters in the book and it’ll tell you what should be said back based on the rules of Chinese language and conversation. You don’t actually understand any of what you’re writing, but the person on the other side of the door is convinced they’re conversing with someone who is fluent. This is John Searle's "Chinese Room" thought experiment, and I was reminded of that while playing Sleep Furiously [$2.99] by Playmation Studios...

'Capitals - Free Word Battle' by NimbleBit Review - Real Game, Really Fun

Capitals [Free] from NimbleBit is their take on a long-running genre: the turn-based multiplayer word game. Thankfully, they manage to deliver a fun and worthwhile take on the genre by making it a simple strategy game that just uses familiar word game mechanics to feel familiar. It's a game that's accessible, but leads to an intense battle between folks. You form words from tiles on a hex grid using Scrabble/Words With Friends [Free] rules, with each tile you play being replaced by another tile. Any tiles you play connected to your color of tile are added to your tiles, and if you capture the enemy capital, you get an extra turn. Wipe out all the enemy territory, and you win!..

'Lettercraft' Review: Think Through the Pressure In a Finely-Tuned, Timed Wordsearch Game

If you loved Loren Brichter’s classic multiplayer word game Letterpress, but for some reason you want a single-player version of it, then Italian developers Marco Torretta and Stefano Figurelli have something to show you: Lettercraft...

'Annoying Cab' Review - Just Plain Annoying

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December 22nd, 2014 11:00 AM EDT by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal, Word
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I've never really had a bad experience with cab rides. Maybe it's because I don't live in a major city and don't take them every week, but as a general rule, when I do take cabs I have nothing major to complain about. At the very least the driver isn't annoying, which is what the typing trainer Annoying Cab [Free] is all about...

'Words for Evil' for iPad Review - Blobs Teach Typing

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October 14th, 2014 9:00 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $1.99, 3 stars, Games, iPad Games, Reviews, Word
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Playing Mario Teaches Typing and Typing of the Dead for the first time were magical experiences for me growing up. I had no real interest in word games outside of the occasional Word Munchers binge, but those two titles took my love for the genre to a whole new level. It wasn't because of typing classes or outside practice that I worked my way up to over 80 words-per-minute in High School, it was due to videogames, and I owe them a great deal. Words for Evil [$1.99 (HD)] is a very similar game that attempts to marry typing gameplay with RPG-like elements, with mixed results...

For millions upon millions of mobile device owners, Zynga's Words With Friends is as important a function of their mobile device as sending text messages or browsing the web. It's basically Scrabble that you can play practically anytime or anywhere with people from across the globe, even when you're pooping. What a world we live in. Today, Zynga has introduced a massive revamp to the game and rebranded it New Words With Friends [Free]. What's new about it? First and foremost is a Solo Play option that lets you square off against an AI opponent even if you don't have an internet connection, something I've been dying for forever...

In other word games, common letters like vowels are often life-savers. In LEX [$1.99], they're a death trap, part of a fast-paced word game that should appeal to the masochistic...

I sat down to play Crobble [Free] this afternoon. An hour passed, and then my battery started dropping... first 20%, then all the way lower than 10%. It wasn’t until I was completely in the red before I figured it was time to put it down and start writing rather than playing. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t had less than half a battery when I’d started, I’d still be hooked to it...

In the world of "throw RPG mechanics onto a tried-and-true game genre to create awesomeness," one of the most promising examples was Crossword Dungeon [$2.99] from developer Nolithius. Released in the fall of 2012, Crossword Dungeon was a game that blended crossword puzzle-solving with dungeon crawling and RPG mechanics. It totally worked at its most basic level, but was somewhat diminished by a lack of words and variety in its gameplay. It's been a long time coming, but a brand new update has solved most of those issues, and if you missed it before then Crossword Dungeon is totally something you should check out now...

'Word Mage' Review - The Hyperactive Member Of The Word Game Family

The word game is one of those genres that's basically always active on iOS, with new entries released at a fairly regular pace. That said, recently, there seems to be a higher amount than usual of excellent new games twisting RPG mechanics into the genre. They're two great tastes that taste great together, I suppose. What's interesting to me is how games coming from the same basic angle of "word game plus RPG" can have such different results. If we consider the recent Spell Quest [Free] to be the Dragon Quest of word RPGs, with its slow, deliberate pace and focus on carefully-planned strategy, then Word Mage [$0.99] is the Ys of the genre, moving at a blazing pace and demanding quick reactions to enemies that become increasingly dedicated to finishing you off...

'Spell Quest: Grimm's Journey' Review - Q-U-E-S-T, Done!

One of the more surprising things that the rise of social and casual games has revealed is just how much everyone loves spelling. Where were all of these people when I was looking for Scrabble players? Or was it the fact that I insist on playing the game in the buff to maximize the flow of my chakra? Oh well. Wherever they were at that time, they came out later in full force, and now there are mountains of word games. At first there were mostly knock-offs of Scrabble or Boggle, but as in any competitive genre, everyone started looking for their own spin, leading to some incredibly imaginative variations. Spell Quest: Grimm's Journey [Free] isn't treading on completely new ground, certainly owing a debt to the classic Bookworm Adventures, but thanks to a few good twists and an extremely polished presentation, it more than carves a place for itself...

'Blackbar' Review - Words Are A Powerful Thing

Neven Mrgan and James Moore call their latest iOS game – Blackbar [$2.99] - “serious, artsy, and texty.” For the most part, the game is exactly those things. Serious in tone, artsy in approach, and texty cause… well, the game’s just text...

It's an old improv game. Two people count down from three and try to say the same thing. Based on those two things, they try to find the commonality. So if I said "Boat," and my partner yelled, "Forrest Gump," we both might scream "JENNY!" It's super fun, and gets the creative juices flowing, while allowing the two partners to get on the same wave length...

Super School Day [$0.99] plays like any other of the mini-game collections on the App Store, yet it manages to not bore by being (so damn) charming. From the second the game launches it’s crackin’ jokes, successfully entertaining with style and personality. Don’t be fooled, Super School Day is actually a not-so-casual, challenging, laugh-in-the-face of mini-game collections - and succeeded at becoming a by-the-hour affair with me and my iOS devices. These days games like *that* are a rare breed...

'Sorcery!' Review - Inkle's Gamebook Gets It Right

As someone who can get pretty obsessive about both reading and video games, I keep expecting gamebooks to grab me by the throat. It seems as though they should be perfect for that: part game, part book, all gripping entertainment...

Heads up: Draw Something 2 [$0.99 / Free] is now a video game that you can play. There's two versions on the App Store. The one with a price, the "premium version" as Zynga calls it, gives you access to a free star and coin bonus and a free sparkle pen. It also doesn't have any ads. The other version is, naturally, free-to-play and can be upgraded, if you so choose. Seems like folks are digging the former...

PopCap's Bookworm Heroes [Free] finally saw its international launch tonight after what's seriously been months of the game being soft launched in Canada. No joke, the thread for its Canadian release on our forums was actually originally posted on December 4th, 2012. I spent some time with last year's release of the game, and it really doesn't seem like there's a whole lot different from the actual proper international version aside from potentially minor balance changes or other things that are hard to notice...

If an awkwardly earnest take on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme sounds like a good time to you, you'll probably dig Sarah Northway's Word Up Dog [Free]. Get it? "Dig"? Because you'll be digging in the dirt for dog bones and letters...? Just priming you for the endearing dorkiness of Word Up Dog, friends—it's a fun, original little word game, but you have to love it for the underdog it is...

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