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iPhone It In: Word Fu

Justin McElroy

It may seem like Word Fu is just a cute name to accompany the martial arts trappings of this word creation game, but it's a surprisingly accurate descriptor. For one, it requires concentration the likes of which most iPhone games never approach, and many of its techniques don't reveal themselves without a lot of study. Also, when you do have a really good game, you feel like you could put your fist through a pile of bricks without much trouble.

You'll begin by receiving a selection of nine letters printed on cubes that you can either completely replace or roll individually in an attempt to get a better selection. After a few seconds of rejiggering, you'll have 45 seconds to make as many words as you can, with less common letters and longer words netting you extra points.

There have been several permutations of this formula in Flash games throughout the web, but Word Fu adds plenty to the basic structure with power-ups that let you stop time or switch out letters and by extending your time whenever you make a word, helping you extend the life of a really good run.

The end product is plenty addictive, especially if you have other Word Fu buddies you can try to top. If you get a friend on the same WiFi network, you can even play them in versus mode. But, while the game can be a lot of fun, there's room for improvement with the letter selection system. For one, if you don't have "S" and "E" in your collection, you might as well start over, as the chances are slim you'll be making an epic run.

It's not flawless, but if you consider yourself a Scrabble junkie or just a lover of words, it's a solid $1.99 pick up.

Word Fu (ngmoco, $1.99): WordFu

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