Developer: Sega
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

One of the latest turn based word games to hit the App Store, Spellwood proves to be quite special thanks to its challenging difficulty level, albeit one that still gives players a helping hand when needed.

Set in a medieval world of magic and wonder, players work their way up a series of towers by defeating opponents through the power of words. Combat is of the turn based variety, and quite similar to a game of Scrabble. Players are given a selection of tiles and they must create a word out of it with the acquired score used to inflict damage upon the enemy.

It’s a nice concept and one that doesn’t necessarily reward long words. As in Scrabble, more points are gained for the use of letters such as X, Z or Q, meaning that frequently a well placed short word can make all the difference. The introduction of double letter or word tiles enhances that ability all the more. Further strategy comes from the different rulesets that apply depending on the battle. In some fights, only the last word played ever remains on the board, while other fights might involve two words staying on screen. Using the previously placed tiles of one’s opponent can reduce the amount of points gained.

It’s little things like this that keeps Spellwood feeling challenging. Indeed, many of the opponents are smart, keen to use longer words or force the player into a certain position on the board. Even on Apprentice difficulty level, it’ll challenge the ardent word game fan. That makes a pleasant change, though, in an App Store full of games all too happy to let the player win.

Extra bonuses come in the form of new items that can be gained upon defeating certain characters, thereby giving players reductions to their damage, or increases to their attack power.

A turn based multiplayer mode is also available, offering players the chance to compete with friends via Game Center or Facebook. It adds to the replayability factor.

Those after a challenging word game will greatly appreciate Spellwood. It doesn’t hand victory over to the player by any means, especially in the early stages when there is limited equipment, but it’s all the better for it.

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