Developer: Blue Ox Technologies
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.36.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆


As far as brainy word games go, the classic crossword puzzle is the one to rule them all. The image of a respectable elder grabbing a pen and newspaper for a morning crossword is full of class and intelligence. The greatest success of 7 Little Words is how it channels that feeling of vintage quality into a whole new form.

True to its name, each puzzle in 7 Little Words consists of seven descriptions of words players must find the answers to. To do so, they will have to form guesses out of the 2-3 letter chunks that make up the board. For example, to answer “a pirate greeting” players must combine “ah” and “oy” to form “ahoy.” Sometimes the answer is obvious and it is only a matter of finding the right letters on-screen. However, when the difficulty ramps up, it’s up to the player to realize that the answer to “helix” is “ir,” “sp,” and “al” or “spiral.” At least it’s fairly accommodating. There’s no time limit or penalty for wrong guesses and there are a limited number of free hints. The shuffle button also works wonders for revealing new, potential letter combinations. However, the game is at its most satisfying when it’s forcing players to comb the farthest reaches of their own vocabularies.

While some of its puzzles must be purchased, 7 Little Words has enough free ones to keep players busy for days. There are even separate apps for kids as well as Spanish and French speakers. With so much focus on content though something else had to give and in this case it was the presentation. Even adult-oriented games can be more exciting than beige backgrounds, no music and plain text. Still, what could’ve been a boring atmosphere somehow becomes a relaxing one instead, complementing the game’s leisurely feel.

7 Little Words is a great word game for the mobile generation. It’s like crossword puzzle’s hip, younger cousin.

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