Word Mania with Word Watch & WordPop!
Aside from action shooters there is one category of games that I have a particular affinity for. Namely, word and text games.
Naturally, I have the classic Scrabble but without a doubt two of my favourite and best designed word games are Word Watch and WordPop! – both of which are perfect for short play bursts of 10 to 15 minutes or alternatively for hours if you prefer.
Word Watch is a relatively new game that requires you to find at least one dictionary-approved five to nine letter word combination. This is the straightforward bit but obviously the best in these games always comes with the twists.
In this case, Word Watch has quite a few up its sleeve. For starters you have three gameplay options: 1) the competition Word Watch; 2) Practice with your choice of 5 to 9 letter words and 3) the Unlimited which has no time constraints. The game display and buttons consist of (counterclockwise bottom left to right) a 75 second timer, a button to Pass, Round and Level indicators, a Shuffle button, an Enter Selection button, a Remove entered tiles button and finally three tile lines with the upper line your entry, the middle your given letters and the bottom your failed letters.
The competition Word Watch will begin by asking you the level of Word Length difficulty that you’d like to select – from 5 to 9 letters. Assuming that you started with five letters, you’ll have to combine these to form a full five letter word in under 75 seconds and then this will be repeated until you ‘graduate’ to a six letter word level.
If in any round you are unable to come up with a word containing all letters then each unused letter will be moved to the bottom ‘failed letters’ line where once it reaches seven failed letters it’s Game Over. However, there are some ‘bonus’ rounds where you are given the opportunity to combine your ‘failed’ letters with your standard letter mix and if you manage to create a word longer or equal to your previous one then the failed letter is removed – thus giving you extended gameplay.
The Practice option allows you to choose a single Word Length level of your choice within which you can test your agility – I’m definitely not up to the nine letters level yet. The Unlimited option provides you with the same gameplay as the full Word Watch but with the timer counting down – thus allowing you to play for as long as you want to find the right word.
There are no ‘score points’ as such to complete a game but a High Scores section rates the Level and Round that you’ve reached as well as the overall accuracy of completed words. In this sense, Word Watch is much more of a mental agility word game but nonetheless tremendous fun throughout, with excellent sound effects and superb graphics which will undoubtedly keep you glued for hours over many months.
Next is WordPop!. Although it has been around for a while, WordPop! continues to be one of my Top 10 games – you’d never imagine that a game this simple could be so engaging and fun with the added benefit that it has superb sound and graphics.
Starting WordPop! in either Easy, Medium or High difficulty levels presents you with a set of 36 letters in a 6x6 square formation. The objective of the game is two-fold. On the one hand your aim is to find the longest possible words to score the highest points and on the other you must remove all of the letters on the board or it’s Game Over. There is no timing so you can take as long or as little as you want and even exit the game and return to it later.
You can form any word you want and of any length as long as each letter of that word is adjacent and consecutive in order and of course that the word is found in WordPop!’s built-in dictionary. Whenever you select letters that combine to make a word found in the dictionary WordPop! will make a small chirping sound and a round green tick mark button at the bottom right will light up. Once you’re happy with your word selection simply click on the green tick mark and your chosen word letters will pop away and all letter tiles above them will fall down to form a new block.
Additionally, outside the main 36 tiles, you will find up to three separate tiles to the right. In the Easy difficultly level the three will be blank and can be added to the board to make up any letter – particularly useful when you are attempting to clear the board of the remaining two or three tiles. In the Medium level there is only one blank and in the Hard none at all.
I recently had to hard reset my Treo and so lost all of my high scores but if my memory serves me right I think that my best was in the region of 6,000 points in the Easy level and perhaps 4,000 in the hard. You will undoubtedly have a lot of fun nearing or beating these scores when you play WordPop! yourself. It may not be a space shooter but if you ask me this is one app that should come bundled with our Treo.
WordPop! is currently on sale at $12.95 in the Treonauts Software Store and Word Watch is $14.95. Additionally, throughout this month of August you can benefit from 10% off all the applications in the store by using the promotion code TREOHAPPY.
Treonauts are never short for words…