Developer: Little Fun & Games
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

They say that the average person knows 5,000 to 6,000 words, though the number of words in an abridged dictionary averages at around 50,000. However, there’s always time to learn a few new words or brush up on those you forgot you knew in the first place, and Wordstr is a fun way to do just that. The straightforward game is quite addictive, but if you don’t already have a rather robust word roster you may not find it all that entertaining.

The game itself is as simple as it gets. Every round you have three minutes to deduce a random four or five-letter word. Every time you enter a guess the game tracks how many letters you managed to get right and lights them up on the keyboard. Thus, stages become a race to eliminate all the incorrect letters while unscrambling where the correct characters go. It’s a bit of a mix of Hangman and TextTwist, but without the frills and thrills. While there are bonus rounds where you can try and decipher anagrams of the round’s secret word and the ability to challenge your friends’ high scores via OpenFeint, that’s really all there is to it.

The lack of any visual panache also hurts the app, as the absence of any interesting backgrounds or entertaining themes leave a rather bland palette. Maybe some catchy music would make Wordstr more entertaining, but you’re better off listening to your own iTunes collection than the game’s included soundtrack. Ultimately, the whole presentation package is a bit of a letdown.

The gameplay of Wordstr makes it quite addictive if you enjoy this type of game, and once you’ve developed a strategy for weeding out letters and figuring out the secret words it’s very satisfying to run through multiple rounds and rack up incredible scores. This is a title clearly aimed at a more cerebral audience though, as the lack of any sort of hints or tips system means it won’t coddle folks who don’t happen to be gifted wordsmiths. This is an app meant to appeal to the Scrabble crowd, but then why would that group need this game? Wordstr can indeed be quite fun, but the niche genre it’s meant to appeal to might already have all their vocabulary-testing needs fulfilled elsewhere.

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