If you’ve been on the lookout for a new word game to play on your iOS or Android device, SpellTower may be just what you’re looking for. This is Boggle on steroids, and is well worth the $1.99 price tag it comes with. Some word games can often get tiring pretty quickly, but SpellTower is one of those games that will keep you hooked. The app is also available as a desktop Mac app, but in this review we’re looking solely at the mobile version, specifically on the iPhone.
We’re big fans of word games here at MakeUseOf, especially ones that make you think. If you’re a word game addict too, be sure to also check out a other mobile games we’ve reviewed including Say the Same Thing, Letterpress, and Scramble with Friends. Want to keep the game on your desktop? Check out this list of eight Scrabble-like games you can play directly in your browser.
How to Play SpellTower
When you first open up SpellTower you’ll find that almost all of the levels are locked, so you’re going to have to put in effort to unlock everything to ensure that you get the full SpellTower experience.
The first thing you’ll have to do is complete the tutorial to unlock the first level, which will introduce you to all the basics of the game. The simple premise of SpellTower is to create words by swiping (or tapping) tiles that are next to each other. Tiles have to be touching (whether horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) in order to create a word.
Other basic rules you’ll learn through the tutorial relate to special tiles. Letters on blue tiles will remove the entire row while tiles with a number denote the minimum number of letters a words has to have in order for it to be used. The longer a word is, the more points you will earn for it.
Once you’ve completed the tutorial, you’ll unlock the first level – Tower Mode. Tower Mode is the easiest level but don’t let that fool you. It takes strategy and smart thinking to get the highest scores. You are presented with a full screen of 100 letters and can clear them at your leisure, and tiles that are cleared aren’t replaced. The strategy to keep in mind in Tower Mode is to ensure you can use as many of the tiles as possible, bringing specific tiles closer to each other to create additional words.
By completing any mode you’ll be able to Tweet your best word and check out the complete word list of that round – where you can also look up definitions, restart the level, or return to the main menu.
Even More Game Modes
Once you’ve played Tower Mode once you’ll unlock the next level – Puzzle Mode. This level is a little bit more complex. For every word you create, a new row of letters will be added. The trick here is that as the rows increase, you have to make sure none of the vertical columns reaches the top. A key strategy to being successful in Tower Mode is creating long words that clear several columns, and that you spread your choices across all of the columns.
Once you’ve scored more than 2,000 points in Tower Mode, you’ll unlock the ExPuzzle Mode. Scoring 2,000 points in Tower Mode can be challenging at first, but don’t get discouraged. As you play, you’ll find that the tricks to scoring bigger will come easier. ExPuzzle Mode is the same as Puzzle Mode but with a few more challenges – a lot of the letters start out with a minimum of six letters per word.
Rush Mode is exactly what it sounds like – it works exactly like Tower Mode. For every word you create, another row is added. To add to the pressure, a new row is automatically added every few seconds.
The game featured two different colour schemes and a multiplayer mode which requires two devices in order to play, as pass-and-play is not an option.
SpellTower is a game that will appeal to all word-nerds out there. The ability to have a word showdown with your friends is also a huge plus. The difficulty is just right – it’s not so challenging that it will put you off, but it’s also not too easy that you’ll get bored quickly. SpellTower is the kind of game that keeps you coming back for more. It’s great for passing five or ten minutes you have to kill, but also is the kind of game that you can get sucked into playing for quite a while. That’s not necessarily a bad thing when you’re using your brain!
Download: SpellTower for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad ($1.99, universal) / SpellTower for Android ($1.99)
What’s your favourite mobile word game? Let us know in the comments.
Image credit: Boggle (Andrew Malone)