Developer: Fuzzy Bug Interactive
Version Reviewed: 1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Word Soup, the popular UK coin-op word game, has landed on the App Store and while it isn’t glitzy, it is one of the most compelling anagram puzzle games I’ve played.
What makes Word Soup so much fun is that the board is huge. Nine columns and 12 rows of letters fill the playing field. Like Scrabble, difficult-to-place letters like Q's and Z's have the highest point value while R’s, S’s and vowels aren’t worth much. Like Boggle, players form words by connecting one letter to any of the eight adjacent letters, then connecting the next until a word is formed. With a grid this size it’s possible to make words of 15, even 20 letters.
The game has three modes. In Relaxed Game and Brain Game there is no timer. Players can spend as long as they like looking for the best possible word and keeping an eye on what letters will fall away in W.E.L.D.E.R. fashion when the word is accepted. In Relaxed the goal is just to get a high score on a single board. A bonus is awarded for clearing the whole board. Timed Game is a blitz affair that otherwise follows the same rules.
Brain Game - my favorite mode - is level-based. Here the trick is to make the longest words possible before hitting the round's target score. Longer words earn players more letters to fill in empty spaces at the start of each new level. The goal is to continue earning enough new tiles to reach the next target score. When players run out of letters the game ends.
There are no power-ups, but there is a limited-use shuffle button and developers Fuzzy Bug Interactive added a special for-mobile touch: at any time, players can tilt their device to move letters in rows with empty spaces to the left or right. It’s very useful for aligning those Q’s with U’s.
I’m hoping they don’t add a store -a game with no in-app purchases is refreshing. An asynchronous multiplayer mode is something I could definitely get into, however. Also, it may be nit-picking, but it's annoying that after every game players are returned to the home screen. A faster replay option would be great for those of us who tend to play a tad compulsively.
Word Soup doesn’t revolutionize word gaming, but for those who love flexing their verbal muscles, it’s a great pick-up.