The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Zach Gage’s original SpellTower launched almost a decade ago, back in November of 2011. Its concept was pretty simple: Mix the word searching mechanics of Boggle with the block-removal mechanics of Tetris. It might not have even been the first word game to mix those elements together, but as we’ve come to find from all of Gage’s games over the years, SpellTower pulled it off with a level of style and polish that was pretty unmatched even in the crowded word game genre on mobile. Over the years numerous new features and new modes have been added to SpellTower, and Gage has been great about keeping the game updated to ensure it would still work on new versions of Apple’s hardware and software. It has stood the test of time, and even today, stands as one of the best word games on mobile.
So when Gage announced SpellTower+ (Free), a revamped version of the game, for release this week, I sort of had to ask myself: Why? How do you improve on a game that was pretty close to perfect already. Well as it turned out, there was room for improvement and it actually was possible to make an even better version of SpellTower. It’s just the sort of thing you need to experience firsthand before all the little details and improvements start to pop out at you. Functionally, you’re still creating words by connecting letters in a jumble forwards, backwards, diagonally, or criss-cross and all the basics of the original SpellTower remain.
The big changes in SpellTower+ are the golden letters which can double (or triple, or quadruple, etc) your word score if you’re able to incorporate them into your word. Also there is a very slick real-time word-checking feature, so if you spell something and you’re pretty darn certain it’s an actual word but the game isn’t recognizing it as such, you can use a Challenge and the game will contact whatever powers that be who are in charge of this sort of thing and see if it really is a word or not. If it’s not a word, you lose a Challenge (you only get a limited number) and go on with your game, but if it IS a word you keep your Challenge and even get a point on a special leaderboard dedicated to those with the most successful Challenges. Every word game should have this system.
There’s also a brand new mode called Search where you’re tasked with creating the most elaborate word possible out of a jumble while making sure to incorporate one specific “star" letter. This mode also comes in a Daily flavor to join the returning Daily Tower mode so you can compete with other players around the world on the leaderboards. Regular Tower, Puzzle, Rush, Zen, and ExPuzzle modes all make a return accompanied by new Double, Bubble, and Blitz modes. Everything is packaged in an even cleaner, more minimalist aesthetic with even more charming animations and sounds, and a level of polish that is somehow even higher than the original SpellTower. This new version also comes in a free with ads model with a one-time IAP to unlock an ad-free version and additional modes, so there’s no barrier of entry for anyone and everyone to be checking out the new SpellTower+.