This won’t appeal to many folks but just in case you’ve ever been excited by the NHS Code to Grouper spreadsheet and would like to squeeze that and the PbR tariff information spreadsheet onto your iPhone, I’ve written up a review of the NHS Reference or NHSRef iPhone app over on my NHS Excel blog. Give it a go, it might make you very happy.
I’ve been devouring word games over the last few weeks and found myself dreaming obsessively about 4-letter word combinations. Now it’s time to relax and to bring you my review of the Top 5 iPhone word games of all time.
In my quest I’ve come across some awful games and some that just didn’t quite make if into my list of all time faves. I’ve made some notes on these towards the bottom of the blog post.
This isn’t the most attractive looking game and I’m sure the simple graphics on this screen shot won’t make you want to rush out to the iTunes store clutching your 99p. Nevertheless, it hits my Number 1 spot by virtue of the game play. Word Warp has the right balance tension and challenge and you get to feel as though it is testing your mental nous rather than just your nerves of steel.
In order to progress to the next level you have to uncover at least one 6 letter word and after that its down to revealing as many of the remaining words as possible. I like the fact you can see exactly how many words are available, it spurs you on for the final few seconds.
If you find the 6 letter word you get to move on to the next level and build on your score. Fortunately you can leave the game at any point and return in the middle of a challenge without having to start from scratch again.
Moxie gives Word Warp a run for its money and very nearly came in first. It’s Lynn’s favourite by far and she hasn’t even touched Bejewelled 2 since this appeared on my iPhone.
I think it’s quite an unusual game, I’ve certainly not seen anything similar yet.
It’s rather like a game of patience. A random letter appears in the top right and you have to place it or pass it. The idea is to build words horizontally, changing a letter at a time. Having created a word you have to be careful not to break the chain and create a “twaddle” which will result in lost points. Additional points are available for “Moxie” words which can be animal, vegetable or mineral, depending on your game choice.
It’s an excellent game, intellectually stimulating and without time constraints. They offer a free Moxie lite version but I bought the main app after my first trial. Go for it.
Now Lexic is a very stylish game. The screen graphics are beautiful and it is one of the few games that I want to play with the sound on. The tiles make a wonderful ivory clatter as they shuffle, giving the whole game a quality vintage feel.
There are loads of games of this style around, sliding across the screen to make ever longer and ever more words. Lexic offers the most accomplished version I’ve tested though. The selection (and rejection) of letters is effortless and with 4 quite different game options available it is an extremely good value game.
This screen shot comes from the Quest option. The idea beyond scoring as many points as you can from the selection of words is to collect all the gold tiles. In this level I have to collect 3 before I can move on but this increases as you step up the levels.
To add complexity there are a number of tile types. The “I” with the red dots will explode after 5 moves if I don’t get rid of it and the game will end. The steel plated “O” remains in-situ while those around it will cascade down and the red “A” will spin to reveal another letter after each go.
There are quite a few more tile types as well. I’ve come across one which spreads itself like the plague. Try getting rid of an exploding “Q” while it is surrounded by an infectious “F”. Quite a challenge.
Another of Lexic’s game option is Blackout which challenges you to clear an entire screen before you can reach the next level. Selected word tiles disappear so you have to think carefully about the few tiles that remain towards the end. You start the game with 10 explosives to clear stubborn letters but they soon run out if you don’t play strategically.
The Stasis option is your standard timed, find as many words as you can, type game.
Lexic is an extraordinarily stylish game.
Wurdle offers a 5*5 grid and lets you loose finding words and that is pretty much it, no whizzes and bangs, just a good solid well presented game.
It’s simplicity is attractive and it does the job very well. Slide to select, release to enter or reject, its easy. I’ve knocked a number of games out of my top 5 because they can’t get this part of the game play right.
I like the list of entries that appears at the top and at the end of the game you can see the list of all possible words along with the location on the grid.
If this is your style of word game I don’t think you will be disappointed with Wurdle.
Word Jong is another unusual game, this time built in the style of Mahjong.
Unlike Mahjong, where you have to match pairs, Word Jong requires you to spell words. The similarity in the game styles is that you can only select edge tiles and that the goal is to end the game with all the tiles matched and removed.
There are a few aids along the way, such as the occasional wild card and a bomb to remove annoying tiles but even so its a tricky game.
It’s another game without a time restriction so you can ponder to your hearts content and relax over it.
Word Jong is styled as a daily challenge and the menu screen is laid out as a calendar where you can select the days puzzle. I personally find this a bit tiresome but I suppose it does mean you can go back to a particular puzzle or challenge a friend with the same layout. You can go back to any date so you aren’t limited to one puzzle a day.
The Also Rans
Here’s a brief mention of some of the other word games that didn’t make it into my Top 5 list of apps.
Scrabble – you will already know if you are going to like this one. It is a fabulous and faithful conversion of the board game, if you like scrabble then go for it. Controlling the counters and the screen is a breeze and the game play is effortless. I haven’t ranked this one because I see it as a game deserving of its own category, it’s not your 5 or 10 minute filler game like most of the other word game apps I’ve reviewed here.
Codeword – I play this game regularly and it lulls me off to sleep nicely. I used to buy the Times just for the codeword but I am currently boycotting Mr Murdoch so am grateful for the electronic version that will churn out as many new puzzles as I can handle. Although it is one of my stalwart games I haven’t put it in my Top 5 iPhone word games list as I don’t think it translates so well to the small screen. Ideally with codeword you should be able to see the whole grid at once but at that resolution I can’t make out the numbers. You can zoom in of course but then you miss out on the essential overview. If you like codeword I think you’ll be happy but you do have to be a little forgiving of the navigation.
Bookworm – I’ve read some outstandingly good reviews of this game but I can’t understand their enthusiasm, I personally feel robbed. It’s a Pop Cap game and is touted as a match for Bejewelled 2.
It is not. Lexic comes a lot closer to the Bejewelled style of play and carries it off with more finesse.
I can’t say it’s a terrible game but it doesn’t flow well and as I left play school quite some years ago I don’t feel the need for a talking worm on my screen. Word selection is tiresome as I have to tap to enter and unslide to reject and really there are much better word game options available for less cash.
Scramble – This is fun and offers itself up for a good two player challenge game, either by pass and play or live hook up over wifi with others online. This adds the competitive challenge that the other games miss out on.
I haven’t given it a top rating because it seems to accept so many weird words. I had considered it a flaw with its dictionary but maybe the problem is mine and I just need to expand my small word vocabulary.
Word Fu + – This game promised a lot but I just find it too embarrassing to play. It’s your standard make as many words as you can out of an assortment of letters game with the addition of playing along to the accompanying sounds of karate chops and martial art grunts. You have to slap your iPhone down in a Kung Fu styling to accept your word choice – not something I want to do in public and I don’t really want to risk slamming my phone into something solid. I can’t complain too much, this was a free game application but I’ll be deleting it very soon.
Boggle – This is one of the original word games but try as I might I just cannot like this iPhone version. My first complaint is that I have to shake my phone to start and then it throws the die up in the air to jumble. I don’t like shaking my phone around and would prefer a subtle tap option. The second and more sever complaint is the annoying selection method. Where I have to tap dice individually and then tap the end to select or the beginning to reject. It is just not smooth and I can’t be bothered to finish a game when I have so many better examples on my phone.
I thought I’d share my recommendations for what to fill your new iPhones and iPod touch machines with, starting with my take on the top 5 iPhone game applications available from the iTunes store.
My games screen tends to change fairly regularly as I drop the duff purchases and curse the reviews that led me to part with my hard earned pennies.
The 5 top games I’ve selected today have lingered for quite some months, and be warned, they have wasted a good chunk of my life in that period.
Here’s a shot of my current games screen.
This is the most played game on my iPhone. I’ve tried out quite a few mahjong apps but so many of them are truly shocking. It must be a difficult challenge to get so many detailed little tiles on the screen but I’ve found this version to have the clearest representation without the fuss of changing inclination or rotation. You can zoom in of course but the standard display works very well.
There is a free Mahjong Solitaire Lite version so try that out first and move up to the fully fledged app when you feel the need for more layouts.
My only gripe with application is that it is timed (see the green bar) and I prefer to play mahjong when I need to chill out and relax. A freestyling option would be a good enhancement I think.
Bejewelled is an all time favourite of mine from my days in the lab. I would spend hours on my laptop matching the coloured jewels while my experiments performed their own little miracles in the background.
This iPhone app is superb, a very faithful representation.
I’ve found myself standing out in the street at night, huddled under a street lamp trying to beat a previous high score as I come home from work. This is high stakes, high stress stuff and extremely addictive – handle with care.
The idea with this game is to lay out your weapons or towers in the right places to destroy the ant like invaders who try to get from one side of the screen to the other.
It’s a very simple concept but amazingly engaging. The sound effects help a lot as bombs explode, helicopters whir and soldiers croak it so I recommend playing this with your headphones on. Beware not to miss your tube stop though.
I must have spent hours playing this game when I first installed it and now feel fully prepared for a role as Flight Traffic Controller at Heathrow.
The general idea is to land the planes, unload your passengers and get the plane back in the skies as soon as possible. At times you may have to refuel and send the planes to the workshop, all while dealing with multiple runways, inclement weather conditions and too many planes. They have a tendency to get agitated if you make them wait too long at any stage.
The levels get pretty intense and here I’ve started to let things get a little out of control with planes backing and sitting needlessly idle.
For a while I heard a lot of hype about Flight Control but it is just not as accomplished as Airport Mania, don’t let the child friendly graphics fool you, this is a very adept game.
I’m at a loss how to explain this arcade game.
You are basically directing your ships to colonise other planets, produce more spaceships and ultimately take over the world.
The graphics are very simple but then the best games often are simple. It is a fast pace gamed which is remarkably strategic in its outlook. I haven’t done it justice with this rambling but I don’t think you’d be disappointed if you gave it a go.
So, there we have my top 5 iPhone game app recommendations, what do you think, have I missed any brilliant games? Do I need to reassess my game screen real estate?
I’ve been a little disappointed with the latest update to the WordPress 2 iPhone app for blogging on the fly.
Not that I blog on the fly that much but I do like to fiddle around with drafts while I’m at work (lunch time only of course) and it’s the draft functionality that appears to be up the spout for WordPress2.
Time to try Blogpress which promises some useful functionality such as support for picassa and Flickr web albums, image upload to your blog server, support for landscape mode and posting to multiple blogs and blog platforms. It also supports drafts which is why I’m here in my local caff, tapping away at a review of sorts.
You’ll be able to make your own aesthetic judgements when the post is published. I am able to position the photos in amongst my text (so not just at the end as with WP2) but I don’t think I can control allignment or output size and I haven’t yet found a preview option.
Here’s a shot of the writing screen. If I rotate to landscape mode the ability to scroll is hampered by the presence of images – it gets stuck and doesn’t show the image.
Scrolling is fine in portrait mode though and I’m typing away quite happily.
Tags and categories are easily accessible and I think I can create new ones from the edit screen. iPhone is a new tag so I’ll check for it after publishing.
I’ve found this post a doddle to create so I better publish it and get back to work.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone