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Hands on with WordCrasher: word puzzles meet Tetris


WordCrasher [iTunes link] is a little gem that deserves a much wider audience than it's currently receiving at App Store. With just 17 ratings to date, this little $0.99 application needs better exposure. Hopefully this review will help. WordCrasher offers a word puzzle game that mixes Tetris-style game play (don't let the letter tiles reach the top of the screen) with Scrabble-like word creation strategy (build words from the letter tiles to eliminate them from play). If you're a word puzzle enthusiast, you'll definitely want to check out WordCrasher.

Developer Kevin Ng's graphics are phenomenal, which might be hard to tell from this low frame rate video, which shows me playing the app for a level. A lot of work has gone into them, making the moment-by-moment gameplay extremely satisfying. I particularly loved the rotating menu sequence that starts each session. It's a visual style I haven't seen on other apps, and it gives WordCrasher a unique visual "voice" that stands out from the crowd.

WordCrasher offers two game styles: marathon, where you play until you Tetris out of room, and flood panic, which introduces the cool concept of slowly filling the bottom of the game level with "water". Tiles begin to float up from the bottom as well as pile in from the top. It's a nice twist, and especially challenging. If I have any complaint, it's that the built in dictionary tends to be fairly prosaic. A lot of Scrabble-standard words are regularly denied. I'd love to see Ng offer more flexible dictionary support for those of us who tend to geek out on word games.

On a side note, WordCrasher uses OpenFeint to manage its top scores system. Seeing OpenFeint initially made me think there might be some sort of interactive gameplay between anonymous participants, say Crash Wars or something like that. but alas no. That's not to take away from my opinion about the quality of the game as is. As it stands, WordCrasher is fabulous. It is likely to be staying on my phone for a while. Word game enthusiasts will love it. Recommended.

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