Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: ipad
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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Those who like the concept of Scrabble meets Tetris may like taking Synapticats’ Wordrop for a spin. Unscramble letters to create words at a steadily-increasing number and pace. Its beginning is quite unthreatening, one might even say academically stimulating. Just wait. Pressure mounts, letters rain down, and the world is upended.
At first, the answers are “given” via letters dropped in numbered batches that solve the challenge for that level. For example, if the requirement is to create three-letter words, circular tiles for “T,” “B,” and “A” will fall all at once, from which one could spell out tab or bat. Then comes U, R, G. Easy: rug! Until the green bar declares, “Level 3! Four letters!” And speed increases faster than any unscrambling abilities. Letters pile up, frantic fingers click out words, until finally the alphabetic mountain reaches the top of the screen and it’s GAME OVER. Levels 7 and above are locked, and challenging to reach. No boosts or power-ups are offered.
This game feeds into that “play it again” addiction that plagues iOS gamers. The premise is simple, but the intensity ramps up as the game progresses. Gameplay is focused at the bottom of the screen, while new “words” enter at the top. Attention is split, therefore cues for level changes are easily missed.
The green checkmark in the bottom right-hand corner is touchy at best. Once a word is created, the green checkmark must be hit or the letters just create a run-on sentence an English teacher would despair over. In order to undo, the letters must be sent back to the ever-stacking pile via tap. Tap, tap, tap. As the game increases in speed and letter requirement, finger dexterity and button response becomes high-priority. Unfortunately, this is where the game begins to fall apart. Several attempts to click the green checkmark fail and iPad-throwing scenarios become a possibility. Also, letters may appear at the bottom that weren’t part of the word plan. However, tapping the letters strums harmonious notes that help take the edge off.
The game does incite competitive assertiveness - the quest to “do better next game” proliferates. However, at some point the monotony bogs down the motivation and it’s time to hit the home button. The entertainment value is real, however it’s also fleeting. Addiction is immediate, but the desire to return wanes.
Playing for high scores can be daunting. Not only do the letters appear at an alarming rate as levels progress, but if a three-letter word is entered on a four-letter level, the tiles disappear, yet 0 points are awarded. The brain must simultaneously create words one letter at a time at the bottom of the screen, while maintaining an eye on the dropping tiles and level changes above.
Wordplay is addicting, yet frustrating. Perfect for the app world in general. Especially those with short attention spans. Wordup is engaging while it lasts, and challenging to the max.