Developer: Appy Nation
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Travel brochures and young people tend to sell travel as hard as possible, but in truth, traveling can be a bit of a drag. There are rude travelers and locals to deal with, tourist traps, airport security, and all shades of gastric poisoning courtesy of the local water. Sure travelers might be able to secure a nice picture or two, but only after they’ve carefully picked their way around the hostile wildlife and mushy terrain.

wordexplorer_02Word Explorer by AppyNation takes players around the world, all with the aid of a single mobile screen. Players can even collect pictures of national animals, capitols, and landmarks. All they have to do to move from one end of the world to the next is unscramble some words. Talk about a weird passport. Nevertheless, Word Explorer is an enjoyable word game, albeit a lightweight one.

When Word Explorer is initially fired up, players can start their trip in North America, South America, Europe, Britain, Scandinavia, or Turkey. Wherever the starting point, the task is the same: wander across that country’s map and unscramble words. Each time a mixed-up word is engaged, the player is offered a clue as to what it is. For instance, “Flog” should point the player in the direction of “Flay,” even though the former generally refers to beating and whipping, whereas the latter refers to skinning.

Eh, close enough. Truth is, even on higher challenge settings Word Explorer isn’t an overly-difficult game – clues or no clues. Moreover, once a word is unscrambled and placed on the map screen’s grid, its starting or ending letter serves as the anchor for the next unsolved word. There’s not a lot at stake here.

wordexplorer_01That’s not to say it’s not worthy of a once-over, however. The game does have a unique feature: as players “travel,” they gather pictures (some of which serve as clues for scrambled words) and make a gallery of scenery and landmarks from around the world. It’s a fun side-mission, and there’s never a reason to say “no” to a picture of a cute kitten that doubles as an info card for kitten facts.

Word Explorer won’t serve as a permanent replacement for tried-and-true favorites like Words With Friends, but collectors/photo fiends will definitely appreciate the high-resolution artwork that’s up for grabs.

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