- A collection of understated tile mechanics come together to form a rock solid word creation game.
- The music is fitting, and yet creates a sense of unneeded urgency.
- Some theme skins are better than others.
- Issues with tile selection.
It seems that word games are a genre that has been over-saturated with a glut of adequate entries that water it down. Tumblewords reminds us how simple and addictive the genre can be.
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We don't review too many word games here at AppSpy, at least not lately. This hasn't been for lack of releases either. It's just that after you've played one or two word creation games and then notice that the majority of releases are doing pretty much the same thing, it's hard not to be pessimistic and ignore a lot of what comes out (we should probably be doing that to the endless runner genre, but that's a topic for another time). Now Tumblewords does not reinvent the wheel. You have tiles that you use to make the largest word or the one that will give you the most points, but it's the small little tweaks made in this release that gives it a completely understated nature, and ultimately, makes it both addictive, and kind of refreshing to play as well.
The board spreads out before you, letters waiting for your tapping. You have fifteen turns to gain the highest score possible. A turn is a creation of a word, done by tapping on the letters in succession (as long as the tiles are touching sides), and then tapping again to confirm your entry. Once this happens, gravity changes causing the tiles to pour to the top or bottom of the screen, mixing up the board a little, and your task begins anew. Here's where things start getting interesting however. Down the bottom you have a set of tiles laid out like a game of Scrabble. Any tile on the board can be replaced with one of these tiles in your possession. Adding to this is once you gain enough points to light up one of the three stars, you have three additional moves at your disposal. You can change a tile on the board to any other letter of the alphabet, you can swap the position of two tiles on the board, or you can shuffle the entire board giving you a new field to look at. The best words will be created through combination and mastery of these mechanics, adding additional levels of thought on top of your brain scanning the board for words.
The visuals are sparse but functional, befitting a word game. In a fun little addition, you can change the theme of the board to add a little extra flavor to your word finding escapades. Mention must be made of the music. The song that plays during your turns never overstays its welcome. It's peaceful, yet present, and the oddest thing is that despite you having all the time in the world for each turn, there's an urgency to the composition that might just trick you into settling on a less than stellar selection. That combined with some delightful sound effects help to round out the experience.
If you're a word game fan, this is certainly worth checking out. Tunblewords contains all these interesting little mechanics that make this more than just your average word creation game, but it's in the combined use and interlocking of these ideas that makes it truly shine. Even for those of us that have trouble scoring something over four or five letters.