Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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SpellTower is one of those word games. The kind of game that turns five minutes into a good hour or more with the player only noticing where time went because the iPad has warned that it's running low on battery power. Be warned, this genuinely happened on more than one occasion as I played SpellTower.
Like so many great word games, SpellTower is immensely simple to play. Complicated features are rarely needed in quality cerebral games and this is no different. The tutorial promises to take less than a minute to play and it's right. All the player has to do is find a word somewhere in the 10x15 grid and swipe their finger across it to score points. As long as tiles rest next to each other in some fashion, they are fair game to use to formulate words. Upon completion of the tutorial, four modes gradually unlock as certain, relatively easy goals are completed.
The easiest mode, and best one to start with, is that of Tower Mode. Supplying the player with 150 letters, the game simply asks that the player gains as many points as possible from the selection. It's a relaxing and appropriate way to start the player off gently. At first, it's all too easy to fall into the trap of setting up numerous 3 letter words rather than anything more adventurous. It's not long before I found myself setting up 7 or 8 letter words, gradually feeling my vocabulary increase by the minute.
This is the ideal time to move onto Puzzle Mode in which smart moves are vital for success. Each time the player makes a word, an extra row of letters is added. Once a letter hits the top of the screen, it's game over. A certain amount of strategy is required in order to keep the rows suitably low and thus remain in the game for longer. Once 2,000 points have been accumulated, Ex Puzzle Mode is then unlocked and things become even harder. For the speed fiend, Rush Mode adds new rows over time but the concept is ultimately the same.
The longer that each of these game modes go on for, the more involving the experience becomes. Blue colored tiles emerge which, once used, can clear an entire row by themselves. Other letters emerge with a number next to them, symbolising how long a word must be to use the letter.
All these little factors make the difference to ensuring that SpellTower is an extremely addictive title. I've played many word puzzle games but this is by far one of the best in recent years. Its simplicity is precisely what makes it so beguiling.