Letterpress – Word Game For iOS
Review

On November 26, 2012, in Game, iOS, iPad, iPad 2, iPhone, iPod Touch, Review, by Mark Greentree

Letterpress – Word Game
App Developer: atebits
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Licence: Free with in-app purchase. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Are you into Scrabble or Words With Friends? Then you will certainly enjoy this latest word game to come to iOS devices. Letterpress is an online social game that allows you to compete against friends via Game Center integration.

It is so popular that it broke Apple’s Game Center servers in its first week of release.

How many words do you know? I’ll take a guess: significantly fewer than you think you know. At least that is my experience with Letterpress.

Letters are presented on a board containing 25 letter combinations. Plenty of word opportunities, right? Not quite. You will see many challenging letters such as v, x, z, and q presented up to twice or even three times in a single game, plus not all vowels are included in each game. The result is a game that is significantly demanding and one that is highly addictive.

Your aim is to defeat your opponent. Each letter is worth a single point, but they can also be stolen by your competitor in this turn-by-turn strategy game. Use letters repeatedly in a surrounding motion around the game board and you will effectively lock them into place, thereby preventing them from being stolen during your opponent’s next move.

Once your color has consumed the board, and you have the highest number of points you will win the game. You can complete the game by consuming the last non-colored letter, even if you don’t have the points to win. If the game gets too difficult you can always pass your turn or resign from the game completely.

The game design is simple but appealing. Themes can be changed and gamer’s avatars are always shown at the top of the game board. Tapping on your rival’s avatar will present the previous word they have played. If want to view all the previously played words, you can find those by tapping on the More Information draw in the top right hand corner of the display.

If you do enter a previously used word, or one that is a prefix of a word that has already been used, the game will advise that it is impossible to use the word in question. For instance, if a player uses the word quilts, then you can not use quilt. Quilted is acceptable.

Letterpress has its own built-in dictionary. Occasionally, you will notice an obscure word is not able to be played, but more importantly this limitation allows the developer to keep profanity out of the game. Some inappropriate words do occasionally creep through, but for the most part it is a pleasant and family-friendly tournament of the minds.

One complaint I do have is your opponent, or yourself if you’re so inclined, can undertake a dictionary or Google search. This allows gamers to find an obscure word that allows them to have an unfair advantage over the other player. Whilst it is near impossible to prevent cheating in this style of game, a timed option for games, once you launch the individual game, will be a welcome improvement to those who wish to have a more skilled and knowledgeable experience.

Disappointingly, there are also apps that assist with solving Letterpress. It is yet another opportunity for individuals to cheat and spoil the gameplay experience.

Letterpress is free with an in-app purchase to unlock the full version for US$0.99. Without upgrading you are limited to playing only a few games at a time. The problem with that is the people you are competing against may not immediately make their moves. It can then feel like a really slow game of Chess. If you find that not many of your friends play the game, you can request through the app, and Game Center, for random opponents to be chosen.

Letterpress is a fantastic concept that will have strategic gamers and literary buffs battling it out to see who is more superior.

Letterpress will not be much better if Apple can not better implement their Game Center services. Occasionally, Game Center will simply fail causing the game to become temporarily unusable. The addition of timed games will also help to decrease cheating opportunities.

Overall, Letterpress is one of those games that I intend to keep on all my devices and continue playing. It is simply that good. Therefore, I am awarding Letterpress for iOS a MyMac.com rating of 7 out of 10.

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