Developer: Gameblend Studios
Price: $2.99 (Sale price)
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

With the unbridled success of the App Store, we’ve seen our fair share of games that attempt to mash up two genres. Sometimes they fail miserably, and yet at other times they come together like peanut butter and chocolate that results in something that is pure bliss.

Gameblend Studios’ WordJong is one such app, blending Mahjong tile play with a word challenge game that manages to mix the best of the two genres together into a delightful whole. Each day you are presented with a new challenge by a WordJong Master; try to beat their high score in a mahjong solitaire puzzle where the object is to remove tiles by stringing together letters into coherent words, attempting to clear the board with no tiles remaining. At any time, you can scroll back through the calendar and play a puzzle from any day of the previous year.

Gameblend has done an incredible job with this port (previously available on the PC and Nintendo DS), so much so that the game feels like it was created solely for the iPhone platform. The controls for navigating menus and selecting tiles feel right at home on the iPhone / iPod Touch. Carried over with perfection from the original is the orient-themed graphic style and music that makes playing the game a real feast for the senses. WordJong offers just enough of an addiction level that you will certainly feel the need to visit it day after day as it suggests, possibly even journeying back through time to solve puzzles from the past.

Word lovers be warned, however – even though each day brings a new challenge (with various levels of difficulty represented by the range of zodiac characters), anyone with a large vocabulary will find that they’re always able to beat the Masters’ high scores. If that’s you, don’t expect to run into the mind-stumper puzzles that will tax your brain. This is a casual word game for those vocabulary nuts that like to be challenged just enough to distract, which in my eyes is a good thing.

I heartily recommend you catch WordJong at its sale price of $2.99, since even at its full price it’s a game that will give you pleasurable moments of distraction any time you launch it.

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