Yesterday, we reviewed Roman Backgammon, an interesting title for iOS from developer EOZ Games. That game was understandably limited by the format and traditional styling of the classic Backgammon boardgame, but here we have Word Cracker, a completely original game from EOZ Games. Now they have the chance to spread their wings, how do they fare?
Very well, as it turns out, as Word Cracker is a vibrant and clever word puzzle game that is surprisingly addictive.
The aim of the game is to complete words that are thrown at you with all the vowels missing. You have a set of vowels at the bottom of the screen, and must simply drag and drop them with your finger, into the correct places and click ‘submit’. If you are correct, you get a score and move onto the next word, but if you are wrong, you get a buzz, points deducted and must either try again or give up, resulting in even more points being lost. If you have the hint option turned on, you also lose points for relying on hints
One thing that I should mention here is that the developer has been pretty clever with the drag and drop interface, as you actually drag the letter slightly below its graphic in a manner akin to how some shooting games work on iOS. It takes a couple of goes to get used to it, but in the long run, it is genius, as you never cover any of the letters or words with your fingers, making the game feel open and fresh. It is surprising what such a simple design decision can do for a game.
You get several options for gameplay. There are four different time limits, including an unlimited option, two different difficulty settings, and also a random difficulty option. The most important option is whether you want the game to display the spaces between the words.
Smartphone with spaces shown: sm_rtph_n_
Smartphone without spaces: smrtphn
Removing the spaces has a dramatic effect on the difficulty of the game, and I feel that, although keeping the spaces may make the game more approachable, it is far more enjoyable and challenging to play without spaces shown, and I get the feeling that this is how the developer envisaged the game being played.
Luckily, there are separate GameCenter leaderboards for each option, as well as a leaderboard for each time limit; a nice touch, and I like the fact that the local highscore is also displayed. I really wish there were Game Center achievements, which are not included. The game is very attractive, with some nice animations on the title screen, and everything is bright, bold and colourful. There is an option for music, but this didn’t appear to be working on the 4th gen iPod Touch used for this review.
The pass and play multiplayer is very welcome, although I do feel that there is room for a proper, battle based multiplayer mode here, maybe that is one for the future, however.
Overall, this is a very good word puzzler that is both addictive and interesting. The multitude of leaderboards will keep you coming back, and the whole game feels like a quality release.
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