I have to admit I have a new addiction. Well, not an addiction so much as a way to while away my time during on-demand NBC television show commercials you can’t fast forward through even though Comcast owns NBC. The game is called Word Flow (free with in-app purchases).
When I got the eval code, I was pretty sure it was going to be one of two types of games I get asked to review. A non-engaging derivative, or a super deep labyrinth that I don’t have time to master. I was wrong. Word Flow is kind of a Goldie Locks game, in that its just right for the way I pass the time.
Basic game play is pretty simple. Make some words out of tiles and win. Bigger words, tiles with crowns, and words that incorporate blaster tiles (tiles that take out entire rows or columns of letters) earn more points. Theh bigger the words and the fewer the moves the better.
The game offers a simple linear path of levels; just follow the path. As you move up the levels, the game, of course, gets harder. Well, the goals get harder and the obstacles more challenging. You still have to spell words, but some of the letters must be released from harrowing circumstances before they can be employed. Letters arrive trapped in ice so you have to spell words using adjacent letters to break them free. Once liberated, those letters can be used to free letters near them. Ducks also end up in the puzzles. Their emancipation comes from scrolling them down rows by solving for words below them. So far I’ve broken a lot of ice cubes to unleash their letters and freed a number of rubber duckies. Each level starts with a set number of plays, when they run out, you can either buy more turns or start over.
If you go back to play a level, you are greeted with new letters; so game play isn’t the same, even if the general obstacles to overcome remain. Restart a level too often and you have to buy additional keys to unlock it (I think the game would be better if it allowed for play without keys on previously solved levels). Some of the levels can be a little daunting to figure out, so you might need a restart or two. Puzzles within puzzles.
Yes, I have trophies for things like unique word choice (not just spelling out the same short words over and over.) And from the looks of the trophy list, I have plenty of work ahead of me on the couch, in an airplane seat, or on a conference call where the team forgets I dialed in.
The one thing I would love to see is a legend that describes the various tools in the bag. The game does run through orientation levels, but if you don’t use the tools, you tend to forget what they are for.
The tools also fail you. I recently used the word speller tool, the one that punches out a good word on your behalf (you get a few at the start, and then have to buy more of any tool once you spend your initial allocation), and it spelled out a great word;, but it broke my ability to break ice cubes, so I had to start over. Good word, bad strategy.
Grandleaf has so far released a few updates, so they seem to be squashing bugs and improving game play incrementally. I hope they keep at development with the same vigor they hope game players burn through virtual gold coins.
Word Flow is a new game that I’m having fun with, and you should too. Like most iOS games, it’s free; but also like most games, it offers various add-ons, such as the elimination of ads, a beginner pack that loads you up on gold and goodies, and more. If you like solitary word play, it may be a good game to help you fill up your time on your iPhone doing something other than filling up your time on your iPhone.