Playing a word game is a bit like writing: to be good you need either a decent vocabulary or a mastery of the thesaurus. As such, writing on word games is quite nerve-racking. I feel like whatever I type in here is going to be scrutinized, which makes me want to pull out all the ten dollar words I can think of. Rascal. Diphthong.
Are you impressed? I certainly hope so. But if you’re not, this list of the best word games of 2012 should do the trick. It’s been a great year for the genre, and even better 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” is slang for “pizza”? That’s quite right ! Try it in Words with friends, then laugh heartily when your friends tell you how cheap you are.
# 5 – Frank words (iPhone, iPad)
Developed by Mary Shelley, Frankenword is a game where you try to make a scary but benevolent monster out of words.
Okay, I made it all up. It’s actually a game where you combine words to form new and ridiculous ones. Suppose you are presented with the indices “hot and humid” and “canned cucumber”. The appropriate answers for each of these would be “tropic” and “pickle” which, when combined, form “tropicle”. 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 (iPhone, iPad)
Good vocabulary won’t get you far in 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 his HP to drop. This madness continues until someone dies.
Rumble WriterThe quick spins make it a great on-the-go game, but its addicting gameplay also makes it the kind of game you could happily play at home for an hour straight (I say this from experience). I recommend playing it on iPad if you can afford it (the letter grid is quite small on iPhone), but it’s far from necessary to enjoy it.
# 3 – Puzzlejuice (iPhone, iPad)
Puzzlejuice takes tile-matching gameplay from Tetris and imbues it with an intelligent and wordy touch. When you form a row of tiles at the bottom of the screen, they turn into letters. To erase them, you need 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 little saddened by the lack of juice, however. Talk about false advertising.
# 2 – QatQi (iPhone, iPad)
It might be a grid-based pun, but there’s a lot of complexity to be found in QatQi (pronounced “cat keyYou play as a lexical caver, forming words on a labyrinthine grid to progress further on the map. You are essentially Indiana Jones, only your success depends on your vocabulary rather than your bravery.
# 1 – Wordox (Facebook)
Wordox is a game of domination. The goal each round is to be the first player to control 25 letters on the 9 × 9 playing field and, as simple as it sounds, there are some pretty nifty subtleties in the gameplay. To begin with, all players must work from a shared letter pool. Additionally, your opponents can rob you by adding letters to your words.
Even if you don’t see yourself as a competitive person, you will fight tooth and nail to win in this addicting word game.
Honorable mention – Typography (iPhone, iPad)
It might not look like it, but Typography is an intense game. You and an opponent take turns looking for words on a grid covered with letters, the goal being to have the most claimed territory by the end of the match. If that wasn’t enough, your opponent has the option of stealing tiles from you during the match. No matter how far ahead you are at any given time, there’s a good chance the other player will loosen the grip on your letters and claim them as theirs.
It’s all fair in love and in puns, after all.
With another year having passed, Gamezebo looks back on the best games 2012 had to offer. Our month-long retrospective will cover just about every type of gaming you can imagine, so make sure you don’t miss a thing! Check out our full collection of Best of 2012 items and vote for your favorite games for our Reader’s Choice 2012 awards.