App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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Anagrams, word-searches, crosswords, word wheels - you name the word game and I've probably played one or two of them already today. I do enjoy the vernacular puzzle but because I play so many I do have high expectations for them to meet. I'm very pleased to say that Word Ball comfortably hits the mark to sit alongside what is a grand and growing collection of iOS word games. It's ana-great, lexi-squisite, and er, vocabula-tastic.
In Word Ball, balls marked with letters bounce and collide across the screen. At first they start off slow, making it easy to touch them and insert them into words. Scoring is similar to Scrabble, with less common letters the most valuable. As the game goes on the letters bounce around more viciously, making it harder to touch them. Also complicating things is what happens to the letters which are neglected. Their balls get smaller and smaller, and the more they collide into bigger balls the more likely they are to completely evaporate and be removed from the game, this making it imperative to keep an eye on all the available letters while making words out of the obscure ones as well as the common ones. Trust me, when you reach the higher levels those letters bounce around like ravers at midnight.
In Classic and Frenzy mode, the game starts with 26 letters and ends when all evaporate - in Frenzy the balls shrink at a faster rate. My personal favourite is Sprint Mode, though, in which 9 random letters appear in each level. Instead of having the whole dictionary at my disposal as with the other two modes, Sprint Mode forces me to focus on the few letters available and is immediately challenging and interesting, and more enjoyably unpredictable as I wind up through the levels with increasing points totals and ball speeds. It's a unique challenge to try and work out all of the available words as quickly as possible and before all the balls burst each other, and it's deliciously frustrating when they bounce so quickly that I can't even press them before they burst.
Either way, Word Ball is another word game which presents a fairly simple mechanic but executes it very well, in its case with medals to collect and OpenFeint for rankings. It would be nice to see a few more modes, but it's managed to keep me coming for more all the same and that's a strong achievement when I have so many word games vying for my attention. At $1.99, why not add another one to your collection?