Playing a word game is a bit like writing: to be good, you need either a good vocabulary or a mastery of the thesaurus. As such, writing about puns is kind of an annoyance. I feel like everything I type here is going to come under scrutiny, which makes me want to pull out every ten dollar word I can think of. Rascal. Diphthong.
Are you impressed? I hope so. But if not, this list of the best word games of 2012 should do the trick. It’s been a great year for the genre, and an even better one for our brains. Seriously, if you spend enough time with a good pun, you’re bound to learn a new word or two. For example, did you know that “za” means “pizza” in slang? It totally does! Try it in Words between friendsthen laugh heartily when your friends tell you how cheap you are.
#5 – Frankword (iPhones, iPads)
Developed by Mary Shelley, Frankword is a game where you try to create a scary but kind-hearted monster out of words.
Okay, so I made it all up. It’s actually a game where you combine words to form new, ridiculous ones. Suppose you are presented with the cues “hot and moist” and “canned cucumber”. The appropriate answers for each of these would be “tropic” and “pickle” which when combined make “tropic”. Another example – and one that I particularly like – is the fusion of the words “provolone” and “solitaire”. I’m pretty sure you can figure it out for yourself.
#4 – Rumble Writer (iPhones, iPads)
A good vocabulary will only get you so far Rumble Writer. If you really want to be successful, you have to learn to think on your feet. It’s an incredibly fast game, presenting players with a small grid of letters and challenging them to find words on it as quickly as possible. For each word found, a volley of letters is thrown at the other player, causing their HP to drop. This madness continues until someone dies.
Rumble WriterFast spins make it a great mobile game, but its addictive gameplay also makes it the kind of game you could happily play at home for an hour straight (I say that from experience). I recommend playing it on the iPad if you can afford it (the letter grid is quite small on the iPhone), but it’s far from necessary to enjoy it.
#3 – Jigsaw juice (iPhones, iPads)
Jigsaw juice takes the tile matching game from Tetris and imbues it with an intelligent, wordy touch. When you form a line of tiles at the bottom of the screen, they turn into letters. To clear them, you have to move the letters and form words. It’s an incredibly unique synthesis of two genres, and the end result is one of the most captivating games you’ll play this year.
We’re a bit saddened by the lack of juice, though. Talk about false advertising.
#2 – QatQi (iPhones, iPads)
It may be a grid-based word game, but there’s a lot of complexity to be found in QatQi (pronounced “cat keyYou take on the role of a lexical spelunker, forming words on a labyrinthine grid in order to progress further down the map. You’re essentially Indiana Jones, only your success depends on your vocabulary rather than your bravery.
#1 – Wordox (Facebook)
Wordox is a game of domination. The objective of each round is to be the first player to control 25 letters on the 9×9 playing field and, as simple as that sounds, there are some pretty clever gameplay intricacies. To start, all players must work from a shared pool of letters. Also, opponents can rob you by adding letters to your words.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a competitive person, you will fight tooth and nail to win in this addictive word game.
Honorable Mention – Typography (iPhones, iPads)
It may not look like it, but Typography is an intense game. You and an opponent take turns searching for words on a letter-covered grid, with the goal being to have the most territory claimed by the end of the match. If that wasn’t enough, your opponent has the ability to steal tiles from you during the match. No matter how far ahead you are at any given time, it’s entirely possible for the other player to loosen their grip on your letters and claim them as their own.
All is fair in love and word games, after all.
With another year gone by, Gamezebo looks back at the best games 2012 had to offer. Our month-long retrospective will cover just about every type of game you can imagine – so make sure you don’t miss a thing! Check out our full collection of Best of 2012 itemsand vote for your favorite games in our 2012 Readers Choice Award.