By the time you read this, my big problem with Letris 2 [Free] might be resolved. That’s the beauty of modern gaming: what is broken can be fixed. But indulge me for a second before I get to the good stuff (and there is quite a bit of good stuff to be found in this freemium title): Letris 2 uses what might be the worst dictionary I’ve had the pleasure of bashing my head against.
Ivanovich Games has already assured us there is an update coming in that adds 25,000 words players have submitted. That leaves a question, though – why were at least 25,000 words left out in the first place? Worse, how is it that the game accepts every common curse and racial slur I tried, a smattering of proper nouns, and at least a few non-English words in their place? The dictionary is the backbone of any word game, and this one is more than a little fractured. Let’s hope the update fixes it, because aside from that one glaring issue there’s a lot to like in Letris 2.
The game is split into two sections, each one unlockable with a separate in-app purchase of $0.99 after you try a few levels. On one side is Letris, a game that doesn’t have as much to do with Tetris as it sounds like it might. On the other side are two puzzle modes, Acronymus and WordMatrix.
In Letris mode, letters continuously fall from the top of the screen into tidy rows at the bottom. You can tap letters to form words with any of them – only in the highest difficulty mode do you need to use letters that connect. Each level of Letris gives you a goal to reach. Collect that many letters in the words you make and you move on to the next. Longer words give better scores, clearing the screen is worth a bonus and you’ll fail if the screen fills up.
Though this mode is time-sensitive, it’s also pretty mellow to start. Once you unlock the paid content for Letris mode, you can keep progressing to higher and higher levels with higher and higher scores to reach, but the levels, as they are loosely defined, are never the same twice.
Acronymus is more of a classic puzzle mode. You’re given a set selection of letters that you need to use up completely. There’s always a solution planned, and you can use hints (that you can also purchase) if you get yourself stuck trying to find it. WordMatrix is an extension of the same idea – a full screen of letters that you need to use more and more of each level, until eventually you’re forced to come up with a collection of words that use up every single letter on screen.
Because these modes aren’t timed, you can play around freely to try to come up with outrageously long or obscure words. It’s fun, and pleasantly relaxed – when the dictionary cooperates, of course.
There are a couple oddities aside from the word selection, though. For one, it doesn’t seem to be possible to unlock the premium content until you work through the free levels of at least one mode per pack. This means that even if you’re sure you want to buy the game, you’ll need to sit through ads for a while before you can disable them with the purchase of either IAP pack. For another, it’s surprisingly easy to abandon a game without your score being saved – the ability to resign is hidden beneath the hint button, and using the obvious home button instead will abandon your game and leave your score off the Game Center leaderboards.
Neither of these things is enough to ruin an experience which is, at the very least, worth trying with a mind to buy. I’d try it out after the update before pulling the trigger, though. Unless you take great delight in playing a few forbidden four-letter words, the updated dictionary should be worth the wait. In the meantime, our discussion thread is a good place to get a bit wordy.