Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
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W.E.L.D.E.R. isn't a typical word game. Sure, it asks players to build words out of randomly generated sequences of letters, but the game is structured in a way that makes it feel more like a block matching puzzle game than a word game. In fact, W.E.L.D.E.R. finds a great balance between wordplay and puzzling that players will find both unique and refreshing.
The gameplay is straightforward and focused, but complex enough to require a good amount of strategic thinking. The game is broken down into levels, and in each level the player must create a required number of words that are four a more letters long. To create these words, players can either swap adjacent letter tiles on a grid, or fill in any black tiles with a letter to complete a word. By swapping tiles and adding new letters to the board, players will be able to create words which will then be removed from the board making space for new letter to drop down from above. This process isn't as simple as it sounds though, because the player only has a limited number of swaps they can make in each level. Ever word the player creates has a point value and the player is awarded extra swaps every time they acquire a specified amount of points. By making longer words the player will gain more points, and thus, gain more swaps to use to make more words. As the levels progress, players start off with less and less swaps and need to think of clever ways to build as many words as possible with a limited amount of swaps.
Special swap types, such as swapping groups of tiles, or swapping non-adjacent tiles, or reversing the order of tiles are also awarded at specific point totals. These different swap types lead to many strategic options, especially when players are facing a particularly tough board of tiles. Players progress from level to level as long as they can complete the required number of words without running out of swaps. Once the player has used up all their swaps, the game ends and the player must start again at the first level.
W.E.L.D.E.R. is certainly a unique take on the common word building game, and it cleverly integrates many familiar elements from block and tile matching puzzle games. The extra layer of strategy bring a new level of interest to the game and players will not only be scratching their head searching for words but will also be puzzling over how to move their tiles around for the most points. Integration with the iOS dictionary also allows for some player education as well. Players looking for the next great word game should check W.E.L.D.E.R. for sure.