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iPhone Game Review: Word Spin

Posted by: Tina at 11/29/2009 8:00 PM
I think there are two kinds of people in the world: those who choose to solve the crossword puzzle in their newspapers, and those that tackle the Sudoku puzzle. I am the latter sort of person. I’ve always been better with numbers – my math score wrecked my verbal score on the SATs. With that being said, I wasn’t sure how I would fare with the virtual Word Spin iPhone game.

I’ve never played with the original magnetic toy, so I was pretty unfamiliar with the concept. Even so, the game is simple enough to pick up on and you’ve got the instructions to help you out, too. The basic concept is this: you have a cylindrical construction consisting of rows of wheels with a different letter on each face of the wheel. You can reorganize the position of the wheel in relation to the other wheels, as well as scroll through the letters on each individual wheel. Each letter counts for a different point, and the goal is to create a word that can wrack up the most points.

There are three modes of gameplay: Practice, Challenge against players online, and the single-player mode called Solitaire. Solitaire gameplay grows from the three-wheel cylinder to an 8-wheel cylinder. The increase in wheels allegedly makes the game more difficult, but at the same time gives you wider options to play with the more difficult (and higher point) letters like “x” or “z” that don’t work too well in a three-wheel construction.

After you make your selection and seal the cylinder from adjustments, you start tapping the words you want scored. The interface and controls are very easy to get the hang of. You’ll start tapping a rage after just a few rounds of the game, like a pro texter. Tap the letters you want to construct a word with, and hit the final letter to score it. A win will cue some chimes and an increase in your score, and a fail will cue a red flag in your score. Scroll through the entire cylinder and pick out the words that you can identify. Pretty simple, right?

Personally, I struggled a bit with my word selection given the dictionary they use. Word Spin relies on a built-in SOWPODS dictionary, like Scrabble of which I also have never played. My board game of choice at their time of popularity was probably Monopoly. Needless to say, it took a bit of practice to get the hang of which words they deemed worthy of points. Some of it seemed like gibberish to me, the unseasoned Scrabble player, but I’m sure others will take to the game more naturally than I. I soon realized that acronyms like “IRS” or “WPA” have no meaning in this SOWPODS world of words. Still, even if you are a slowpoke word assembler like myself, you’ll start to warm your brain up, in which case the Practice mode is very helpful.

To be honest, I didn’t even play on Challenge mode because it’s so difficult to coordinate a multiplayer game. You either need a challenge code to join a competition that you’ve been invited to, or invite someone via email to challenge you. Given that I don’t have many friends with an iPhone to challenge, I feel like I have to jump through hoops to get a game started. Why isn’t there an option to join even a local Wi-Fi game? This isn’t the typical multiplayer game, obviously, but I’d like to challenge random Word Spin gamers. Needless to say, the basis of my game experience was either on Practice mode, or Solitaire mode.

This extra brain activity not only helps your success in the game, but it gives you ample exercise of your mind for all the other uses you make out of having it. You know – besides all the gaming. Your brain is, after all, like a muscle, and therefore needs the exercise to keep in shape. Among the awards they have received, MENSA has also awarded them the “Best Mind Game Of The Year”, which should probably be an indication of how effective it is.

If you like brain games and challenging yourself to a puzzle that can help you develop a comfort with your language skills, Word Spin is promising you this improvement. It does definitely feel like good practice and a good challenge given the range of difficulty, although I can’t see the compatibility of the SOWPODS dictionary to my necessary language skills.

Word Spin: $2.99



Boost your mental agility, language skills and enhance your ability to play ALL word games better with one of the most captivating word games ever invented: WORD SPIN®.

Any time you have a spare moment you can now experience the mesmerizing word game that millions of WORD SPIN fans around the world have enjoyed.
Highlights of awards won:

* Best Mind Game Of The Year from American MENSA, Ltd. (The High IQ Society)
* Game Of The Year from the Australian Toy Association
* BBC-TV Good Toy Guide from the British Broadcasting Company
* Oppenheim Gold Seal from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
* Three Star Toy Seal from the Canadian Toy Council
* Parents' Choice Honors from Parents' Choice Magazine

WORD SPIN is loaded with features!

Three Games to Play - PRACTICE or play SOLITAIRE alone or CHALLENGE your friends online.

3-D Spin Wheels - Using your finger on the touch screen, you can spin and/or shuffle 3 to 8 virtual "Spin Wheels" printed with letters on their edges. You then form words from the letters, scoring points as you go.

Tournament Dictionary - Built-in SOWPODS dictionary gives you the same word list used for international word game competitions.

Instant Feedback - Words found in the dictionary are instantly confirmed on your score sheet and added to your score. Attempts to score illegal words are red-flagged and result in deductions from your score.

High-Quality Sound Effects - Vivacious sound effects award your performance and bring the Spin Wheels to life.

Challenge Your Friends - Play against friends anywhere in the world. When you challenge others (up to 100), they're sent (via e-mail) the exact configuration of Spin Wheels that you used, leveling the playing field.

Global Leader Board - Submit your high scores to the global leader board to see who is the WORD SPIN guru!
VIP CLUB

As a registered owner of WORD SPIN for iPhone you are entitled to VIP CLUB benefits which include a hot link to buy the ORIGINAL WORD SPIN® at 35% discount (for a limited time) from GEOSPACE® International. Plus, you may order online all other items offered by GEOSPACE® at a special VIP Discount of at least 25% or greater!