Originally released as an Independent game on the Windows Marketplace, Wordament has met with widely accepted success. Having been re-released and re-branded as a Xbox Live title what can new and returning players expect? First, the gameplay is the same: players search for words within the puzzle to spell while working within the limitations. These limitations are diabolically simple, a letter can be used only once and the next letter must touch the previous one. By following these rules hundreds of words can be spelled from a simple 4×4 block of letters. By changing the order of the letters the same selection can spell a completely different word.
Each individual letter offers a certain amount of point that are summed to create the overall value of the word spelled. Spelling larger words with rarer letters is a valid strategy as well as spelling many smaller words a quickly as possible. The goal of each round – which only lasts three minutes – is to accrue the maximum amount of points before the time runs out. At the end of the round you have a chance to review how you did, see what words you missed, and compare your score against the rest of the internet.
Following each round there are 20 seconds to review all the possible word combinations, both uncommon and rare words. There are some words designated as starred which are extra points, and some blue-starred that have a common theme and contribute towards some Achievements.
Here’s what we liked about it:
Competition- After the review of missed words there are an additional 20 seconds to review how you ranked against everyonewho participated in that round. You’re given the top fifteen players and a dozen players who scored near you. If you’re not happy seeing where you land, they also grade you – giving you a percentile score based on your rank. Some Achievements are tied to scoring above a certain percentile.
Frenemies – You’re playing against your friends at the same time. Your Xbox Live friends can be designated as “frenemies” – those you can compete against on a round-by-round level as well as an overall daily progress. In the global ranking review section you’re also given to opportunity to designate anyone in the Top Ten or those near you so you can keep track of how you rank.
That Smart Feeling - Nothing gives you a bigger pat on the back than finding a really tough word, completing all the blue-starred words, or scoring in the top percentile of competitors. This feeling leaves you coming back for more and more rounds, which only a maximum of four minutes so you can’t get a few done in your free time.
Here’s what we didn’t like about it:
Must have internet – Due to the ever-connected nature of the game you can’t play without an internet connection. This means those train rides with spotty reception are out, even those hallways at work are out. Nothing is more frustrating that having a great run with a high score and losing it all because your commuter train passes under a bridge.
But I just joined – Sometimes when starting a game you have the unlucky chance of jumping into a game at the very end. Since the rounds are persistent for everyone there are times when players join that there is only a few second remaining on the clock. This doens’t hurt your total score, but it is frustrating to see that 0% come up at the end of the round, especially when your “frenemies” rub it in your face.
In the true fashion of quick-to-play mobile games Wordament captures a simplistic gameplay that keeps you coming back whether for that high score or simply to beat their Frenemies. Even if it wasn’t free, Wordament would deserve:
Final Score: Buy It.