Version Reviewed: 1.1
Graphics / Sound [rating:4/5]
Game Controls [rating:4/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:4.5/5]
In my efforts to try and constantly remain as objective as possible, I have a tendency to sometimes be too critical of a product or application. In general, this means I am not the easiest person to please when it comes to reviewing an application and I don’t think that handing out five star ratings will be a common occurrence.
I nearly broke that mold with this review, and it is only because of a few minor flaws that I was prevented from tagging this game with such lofty praise.
That being said, lets start with the good things...
As far as these types of applications go, there are two types of people in this world – those that enjoy word games and those that don’t. For those that don’t it is doubtful that this game is going to convert you and it really doesn’t matter how good this game is, the genre just doesn’t appeal to you. However, for those that do, it is worth reading on.
Word Flow sets a new standard in word games and has truly had me hooked from the moment I began playing it. As far as my own opinion goes, I have been getting rather bored of seeing the same type of word game get released and re-released in a different packaging from a different developer. Perhaps it is unfair because those games may contain merit, but in the case of Word Flow, conformity is not something I’ve had to worry about.
The expression “minutes to learn and a lifetime to master” could not be more true and it won’t take long before you have a thorough understanding of how to play. In short, the game has columns and rows which move both horizontally and vertically and contain random letters that you have to try and piece together to form different words. You can set different time limits to the game and try and get the highest score in each category. It may sound simple but believe me it is not. Word Flow challenges you to think on your feet and see the whole board while trying to make the most impressive words. The game utilizes a very simple and well explained scoring system which is executed perfectly and keeps you feeling like “the next time I play, I know I can do a little better”.
The interface is very smooth and the overall graphics are on par with the best that you may expect from a very large developer. Mostly, they don’t try to overdo it and they land up striking a wonderful balance in aesthetics and functionality.
The touch controls are effective and responsive – meaning the game doesn’t lag.
In general, the concept of this game is novel and refreshing. It is challenging and fun - yet not reserved for the word savants among us. At a moderately priced $0.99, I would recommend this game to a friend and definitely try it for myself.
Although I feel that this game is a great buy, I still feel responsible to point out some of the drawbacks it carries. I think that any causes for concern are heavily outweighed by the positives this game holds. If nothing else, mentioning them may prompt the developer to make a few tweaks and consequently enhance our experience of playing this game even further.
For starters, I want to reiterate that I enjoyed this game so much that I literally had to go looking for bugs and the following is what I came up with.
The Pause menu does only that – pauses the game. In general we have been spoiled by pause menus that offer us a slew of different options when we decide to take a coffee break. In a future release the developers should look to add features like volume control, a help menu, and a save option.
This leads me to my biggest gripe with this app. You cannot save a game. Not to mention that most apps auto-save even if you accidentally hit the Home button, at the very least, this game should give you an option to save your round and return to it later when you tap the Pause button. This omission has, in its own right, cost this review half a star. It is the conjunction of the other flaws combined that have cost it another.
On the main menu of the game, I almost didn’t see the Help button at all. Its placement is too small and easy to miss relative to the About Us button.
Though it doesn’t bother me since I’m always trying to catch up with my podcasts, some will argue that a game cannot be called complete and polished if it lacks its own soundtrack. The addition of some elevator style music might be a nice touch.
Following on that is the obvious requirement to exercise an option to mute all game music and sound effects so that I can be left to the bliss of my own music choices. Although this game doesn’t have music, it does have sound effects and while they are subtle, I personally would have appreciated the ability to switch them off altogether.
Word Flow is a good enough game that it doesn’t deserve to be left on a negative note. If you do the math thus far, we’re down to four stars, but when I learned that its asking price was only $0.99 – its stock went up. I leave the rating at four and a half stars and every one of them is earned. Kudos to the developers – you’ve done a great job in putting out a very enjoyable game... Keep up the good work!