Imagine a Palm PDA game that combines the wordsmith features of Scrabble with the action of Tetris and you have a new game by Smart Box Design called WordPop!
I am not a major game player, but WordPop! appealed to me because it has all the elements a PDA game needs to lure my attention away from everything else I have to do. It’s easy to learn, fast to load and begin playing, has increasing levels of difficulty so that it becomes almost addictive. It never frustrates, since it gives you the feeling that you are only competing against yourself. Also, the high-resolution graphics are clear and uncluttered, and there is no annoying background music.
The game gives you a grid of 24 “random” letters that you have to connect to form words. Like Scrabble, each letter is weighted in value from 1 to 9, with letters like “z” and “x” worth 9 points. As you form words, the letter tiles disappear and the remaining tiles fall to the bottom of the grid, like Tetris. It will not accept words not on the game’s list of commonly used words.
The game increases in difficulty as you clear each grid, without having to go back and start at a higher level. Like Scrabble, if you can make a lot of words with the letters “q,” “w,” “x,” “y,” and “z,” you will get higher scores.
Scoring is based on the value of the word formed, which is the sum of the tile points times the number of tiles used. WordPop! keeps track for you, and rewards you with extra “wild” tiles you can use, and additional rounds of play. It also compliments you with a list of your “Best Words.”
This game could appeal to all ages, even young children who can pick out simple words (about age 6). WordPop! would be a good game to keep on your Palm for your kids to play in waiting rooms or on car trips. It could even start multi-generational conversations about words and spelling.
Since the game starts out so easily, it could appeal to anyone who finds Scrabble or other crossword-type games too challenging. On the other hand, this game could be too simple for word-game experts, particularly those who like the clue challenge of crossword puzzles. I find crosswords too challenging for my limited amount of time and patience. I like the instant positive feedback WordPop! gives me when I make each word.
WordPop! can be downloaded for free, with the limitation of having “only” 28,000 acceptable words and having to click past a screen urging you to purchase the game. When you purchase the game and install the free SBD Word List, you get a total of 80,000 words, and the length of words accepted by WordPop! is increased from 7 to 24 letters long.
Easy to learn
Fun word action play
Could be too easy for word-game experts
WordPop! is a fun, easy-to-learn, but increasingly challenging word game. It can be played in short stretches as easily as long ones, so would be perfect for down times in waiting rooms or during travel. Also, it could appeal to children as well as adults.
WordPop! is $14.95 from the Smart Box Design site:
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