Developer: Linguamation
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Most vocabulary-building games use either tight time limits to create a sense of urgency or only provide big scores for extremely long words even dictionary editors don’t know. Four Letter Words drops all that pretense, instead presenting a straightforward game with a generous time limit that never forces you to rush ahead to cram in as many words as possible. This is a mellow, laid-back approach which works out extremely well.

Each round starts with two four letter words side-by-side and you have to figure out how to get from one to the other by changing one letter at a time. The game will keep track of every move you make and as you move closer to the intended word your farther away the speech bubbles will also drift closer or further from the target. It’s a cool representation that lets you know exactly where you stand and how close you are to nailing the correct word. Each round is timed but the timer rarely comes into play, and points are ultimately awarded based on how quickly and efficiently you managed to get from one target word to another. It’s all an incredibly simple concept, but one which is also executed very well.

The only real fault you can claim for Four Letter Words is that it’s nearly too laid back and slow-paced. While the change of pace is nice at first it can start to drag, and the ability to change any letter in a word at any given time removes a lot of the challenge. Then again, no one said games like this had to essentially be difficult, and there will likely be a number of folks who enjoy breezing through stages and quickly blazing from one level to the next. It ultimately comes down to a matter of taste.

Ultimately Four Letter Words is a groovy app which takes a different approach to word games, with a mostly positive result. While some players may be turned off by the slow pace and simplistic mechanics, others will likely enjoy the fact that the game encourages them to simply sit back and enjoy the experience. Twitch gamers need not apply, but others might just end up having quite a bit of fun.

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