Developer: Finger Arts
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.5.2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

IMG_0638I could see the headline, “Another Word Game: Nation Yawns.” Well, as it turns out, Guess the News brings a pretty innovative concept to the table, distinguishing itself from the crowd. Finger Arts delivers a clever mix of the latest news feeds with word jumbling action to create a title that is unique and topical. It might not be the most exciting game you’ll play, but the overall idea and implementation are definitely newsworthy.

The first thing you do in Guess the News is choose a section. The categories available are Top Stories, Nation, International, Business, Odd Stories, Entertainments, Sports, Technology, Science, and Health. You are then presented with a brief article description and pile of jumbled letters. The top of the screen has the article’s title with several missing letters. You choose a word, which highlights the mixed-up letters that belong in it, and then you can either click on what you believe is the next letter, or drag a letter to its intended location.

There are 3 difficulty levels: Easy, Medium, and Hard. Easy and Medium difficulty give you a certain amount of pre-filled letters, whereas Hard mode blanks out the entire headline and places a v where the vowels should be placed. There are also 2 games modes, Classic and Timed. Classic has a score multiplier that decreases over time, and you are allowed progressively fewer mistakes as you solve puzzles. In Timed mode, you start out with a 1 minute timer that you can add bonus time to by quickly solving puzzles. Each game mode rewards you with a medal or trophy for every sixth puzzle solved.

IMG_0657A play session can last several rounds, so Guess the News lets you conveniently save your progress for a game in each of the 10 sections. Once you’ve finished a puzzle, you’re given the choice to read the full article from within the game. This is a nice touch, and it also keeps track of past articles you’ve played. Another great feature of Guess the News is that you can select different countries as the source of your news, some of which will obviously be in different languages. You can grab the news from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States.

There is a local leaderboard of sorts in Guess the News, but it doesn’t distinguish between game modes or difficulty. You can challenge your friends via email, but it would be nice to have a legitimate global leaderboard with better stat-tracking. The game itself is also a bit too easy for it’s own good, which takes some of the excitement out of it. The Timed mode could maybe be more restrictive, with less bonuses, to encourage quicker sessions. There could also be a harder difficulty setting where multiple words are grouped, or even a mode with interesting power-ups. At the least, you should be allowed to turn off hints. Some minor adjustments along these lines could help to interject a little bit more action to what is already a very attractive and efficient game.

Guess the News makes its mark by rather flawlessly implementing a fresh and innovative concept. Using the news as an endless supply of material works really well, and can be both fun and informative. With just a few minor tweaks to the formula, Guess the News could be a star in the making. Alert the paparazzi!


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