I’m of the opinion that word-based puzzle games are where it’s at for the iPhone. Sure, the shooters and other touch games for the platform are cool, but I get longevity from the dynamic nature of word based challenges. So when the opportunity came to play with Word Flow from 3V Games, I jumped at it.
3V Games represents the long-time-coming desire of 3 long time mobile game developers. Having made their way in the mobile gaming realm for one of the big mobile industry players, Vinni, Viddi, and Vicci (that’s Grandpa, Uncle, and Aunt, respectively) grabbed ahold of the chance to do their own thing, based on the iPhone platform. I think it’s safe to assume that they’re hoping their extensive knowledge and experience in this realm will help them to knock it out of the park when combined with the great features the iPhone has to offer for game interaction.
Their first offering to come from 3V Games is called Word Flow ($0.99), and challenges you to make words out of the jumble of letter tiles presented on the game board. Unlike Quordy, Word Flow requires you to move the letter tiles vertically and horizontally to form your words on a linear basis (this rigid departure from the likes of Quordy or Wurdle proved a bit of an obstacle for my pint sized noggin). The concept is simple yet challenging, offering the typical ‘power-up’ scoring tiles, and larger scores for longer words. Game options are light, only allowing you to choose from 1, 3, and 10 minute game lengths.
Word Flow launches (and remains) in landscape mode. The home screen gives you a help option for instructions, an about screen to tell you about 3V Games, and the choice of preset game length. The game board is a set of 5×8 letter tiles, which you can slide vertically or horizontally. Your challenge is to form words from the jumble to score points. Less commonly used letters score you more points, as do longer words. Longer words yield golden letter tiles which give a multiplier when used.
The game looks great. The graphics have a very vintage, ye olde tone to them and it almost feels like you’re playing a real world game. The touch controls are simple and responsive as you move the tiles around — in my play, I experienced no lag in movement. When it’s time to make a word, you just tap the first and last letters and your score is displayed. Simple. Easy. Challenging (especially if your brain is stubbornly stuck in free form Quordy mode as mine was at first).
While I’ve enjoyed Word Flow, I see some space for improvement. The board takes up the entire iPhone screen, so to display the timer and score, there’s some overlap of the letter tiles. For the most part this isn’t a huge deal, unless you’re trying to tell if that’s a ‘T’ or an ‘I’. I also found it rather abrupt when the game time ran out, as there was no visual or audible cues that say, 5 seconds are left. I’d also like to see a pause functionality (perhaps by tapping the clock, as in other games).
I’ll continue playing Word Flow because it makes me think and it’s nice looking — I really like shiny things. But really only time will tell if Word Flow has the stickiness factor that continues to pull me back in. I think with a few small tweaks as listed above, it could easily get there. If you dig word games on your iPhone (or iPod touch), it’s worth a try.