Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Toy Studio's new word game Word Off is a game with two hooks: one, it's designed to have the feel of more of a strategy game with direct conflict, and it's designed to be multiplatform.
Players alternate turns on a board, forming words from letters in their territory or in unoccupied tiles. The goal is to try and get as many points from formed words, or to conquer the opponent's base tile. Maches are formed from adjacent hexagonal tiles, with no overlapping. Players can spend their coins on boosts that can be used to grant special advantages, but they are limited to 3 per games.
The game is perfectly multiplatform, with it being developed in HTML5. All versions of the game are the same, and can actually all easily use the same account to log in, whether it be via Facebook or via proprietary account. I've played games using the same account on iOS, Android, and web browser.
The game does seem a bit ludicrous with its in-app purchases: coins cost quite a bit, at $4.99 for 40 coins. New board layouts cost upwards of 90 coins. While coins are earned after each game, it still might take a few games in order to even unlock one new board; this is excluding any boost usage as well. Players looking to pick this up long-term should not expect to get a free ride for very long.
The drawback of the HTML5 interface is that with Word Off, it's not particularly designed to fill the screen. It appears to be designed for the 960x640 resolution of the iPhone Retina Display, and it is displayed centered on every other display. This means on tablets that there is plenty of black space around the game board.
The games are fairly short; I haven't seen a base conquered yet, and it seems like either a terribly bad stroke of luck combined with skillful play from one player is the only way that it would happen. The option for longer games would allow for some interesting strategies to come in to play.
Word Off has its issues, but the technological achievement is fairly impressive. It's definitely worth checking out for at least that aspect alone, as they absolutely nailed it. Some other tweaks to pacing and pricing could help smooth out the bumps in the road with the game.