Wordsworth from 99Games is a popular iPhone word game which has made the leap to the larger screen with Wordsworth HD for the iPad. With its addictive gameplay, multitude of options and the ability to play online or head to head on the same device, it will appeal to word game fans everywhere.
Wordsworth HD is played on a grid made up of hexagonal tiles. A letter is printed on each of these, and your goal is to link adjoining tiles to make the largest letter you can. Bonus points are awarded for using letters with one, two or three dots on them; for making words in a vertical line of tiles; for making words which read the same backwards and forwards: and many more.
In the single player classic mode, the game is split into a series of levels, with your points total unlocking the next round. Strings of 4 or 5 letter words generate bonus tiles, including gold tiles which add extra points; ones which let you clear the board of all tiles of a certain letter; and wildcards which can be used in the place of any letter to help you make longer words.
Occasionally, red timed tiles will appear, with borders which slowly disappear like fuses: you must use these tiles to make a word before the border disappears or it’s game over.
Similarly, timed mode sees you racing against the clock to unlock the next level before the timer runs out; whilst Tumble mode is an interesting variant which sees tiles fall from the top of the screen and pile up at the bottom. If the pile reaches the top – Tetris style – then it’s game over.
Multiplayer also benefits from a wealth of options. The three modes above can be selected, with a variety of victory conditions including best score over a number of rounds, or first to reach a specified score. Online, players take it in turn to play using the same board; whilst in head to head mode, the screen is split as the players compete against each other on the same iPad.
Wordsworth HD has a cartoon style, with the hexagonal grids fitting inside a graphical representation of a beehive, with little bee icons giving access to the game’s options. This is purely cosmetic and adds nothing to the game: some will be charmed by it, whilst others may be put off by the slightly childish style.
Music and sound effects are inoffensive, and obviously easily muted if they start to annoy.
Controls are simple, with players pressing the tiles to make their words; or to clear incorrect selections. The game runs smoothly and has a slickness to it which appeals, making it fun and easy to play, but always presenting a fresh challenge with its random tile selections and unlockable achievements to be discovered.
Online games are handled well too, using GameCenter or random opponent matching, and the game’s popularity means finding an online opponent isn’t too difficult.
With its varied modes and options and a constantly-fresh challenge, Wordsworth HD successfully manages to bring something new to the already crowded word game market with a title that is enjoyable and addictive to play. Whether it’s a quick word-making fix you’re after, or a marathon letter-based session, Wordsworth HD delivers.
Score: 8 / 10Wordsworth HD,