Wordament

August 17, 2013 | | Add a Comment

WordamentWhen you hear or read about the Microsoft Corporation, what first comes to mind? Most if not all people will answer “computers” or “software” because that is the company is best known for. However, aside from computer stuff and software, Microsoft has also develops and publishes games (think the Xbox series!) and one of them is Wordament.

Introduction to Wordament

A portmanteau of “word” and “tournament,” this Microsoft game is basically a you-vs-the-Internet game. It is a word-finding tournament with games happening 24-7 and your main goal is to be the best word searcher! You can play even in the middle of a game, so you don’t have to worry about remembering a schedule. All players (more popularly called Wordamentalists) play on only one board online and compete to get the best score in real time.  Every game is limited to two minutes and the player with the highest score after the given time limit is declared the winner.

Originally, the game was just a side project of two employees of Windows Live. Later on, it was acquired and published as a registered trademark by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released on April 1, 2011 and it can be played via Xbox for Windows Phone, Windows 8, and the web. In addition, on December 22, 2012, an iOS version was released, so Wordament can also be played on the iPhone and is available on the App Store for free.

How to play

One simple movement is required to play the game: swiping! You can form words that are at least 3 letters long by swiping letters in any direction: horizontally, vertically, diagonally, backwards, and forward. Use your finger to drag the letters to spell out words. As long as the adjacent letters you swipe form valid words, then you’re off to becoming a certified word searcher! As your finger passes each letter tile, it will be highlighted and the word you are spelling appears on top of the letter grid. This feature serves as your guide in word formation as well as viewing the letters. If the word you have built is valid, it will turn green once your finger is lifted off the grid. If the word is something you have already found, then it will turn yellow. Lastly, invalid or illegal words turn red.

Scoring

Every new and valid word you build will increase your word count and of course, your score. Both are automatically updated. Generally, the longer a word you form, the higher your score will be.

There are 16 letter tiles on the 4×4 grid and each tile has a corresponding value. So aside from word length, the letters you use can also significantly affect your score. The point values of the letter tiles range from 1-12 points, depending on their frequency of use. For example, the most commonly used vowel is the letter E, so it is worth just a point, along with the letter I. The letters A and O are worth 2 points each, while the least commonly used vowel U is worth 5 points. On the other hand, some of the higher scoring consonants are W with 6 points, Z with 8 points, and Q with 10 points. Moreover, some tiles carry double letters like Ed, Er, Qu and Ra or the triple letter-tile MIS which is worth 12 points! Tiles with more than one letter can easily increase your score especially if you use them to build longer words. Other tiles contain “either/or” letters like I/V (worth 20 points!) meaning you can use the tile to spell out words that need either an I or a V.

Aside from the total value of the letters you use, multipliers also play a part in determining your final score. The multiplier bonus depends on how long a word is. Words with 4-5 letters are worth 1.5x more, while 6-7-letter words are doubled. For even longer words with at least 8 letters, the total word score is tripled! So as much as possible, form words that are at least four letters long to have more multipliers.

Wordament vs other word games

What makes Wordament different from other word games is the fact that it can be played at any time without the inconvenience of waiting for an opponent to play before you take another turn. There’s also no need to initiate game play because the game does it for you: continuous game play every two minutes or so. Moreover, other word search games have only one special tile, most particularly Qu, whereas in Wordament, there are more word building opportunities because of tiles that carry more than one letter and the either/or letter tiles. Ultimately, it is a unique word game that offers non-stop fun and competition.

Word Twist

August 17, 2013 | | Add a Comment

Word TwistNowadays, word puzzles particularly word search games are very popular. One of the classic ones is Text Twist, which has spawned similar games including Word Warp, Word Jumble, Word Frenzy, and the colourful Word Twist. If you’re using a Windows Phone, you’re probably already familiar with the game.

Introduction to Word Twist

Microsoft Windows isn’t just an operating system for computers; it also about being a mobile operating system, the Windows Phone. And just like other mobile device with different operating systems, there are games that can be downloaded and played through Windows Phone, including Word Twist. The game is supported by both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 7.5. Currently, it is one of the top 5 games for Windows Phone and it was last updated earlier in June.

It is easy to understand how the game works: you simply have to form as many words as you can with the given 6 letters each round. The words should have at least 3 letters and to move on to the next round, you need to find the word that includes all 6 letters. Depending on the mode you’re in, there is usually a time limit of 2 minutes.

Game modes

Before starting a new game, you need to choose a game mode and you have four to pick from: classic, all or nothing, blind, and kids.

In classic mode, you get to build words within two minutes only. Playing in this mode will definitely put your word building skills to the test as you can motivate yourself to do well given that there’s a time limit. If you do not like being pressured, then you can play the kids mode.

In the all or nothing mode, you are given a longer time limit: 3 minutes. However, there is a catch: you need to figure out ALL the words that can be formed using the 6 jumbled letters! Otherwise, you will lose the game! It’s a bit of a challenge, but you’ll have a great sense of fulfilment if you are able to do it! Plus, this mode thoroughly exercises your word building skills, so give it a try from time to time.

The blind mode has the same rules as the classic mode, except it does not have hint boxes that inform you of the number of 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-letter words that can be formed with the given 6 letters. It can be quite difficult, but challenging enough for you to strictly play the game without any help.

Finally, you have the kids mode, and as it name says, well, it is ideal for children. It does not have a time limit and only 8 words are needed to advance to the next round. Even if you aren’t a kid, you can play this mode if you just want to relax for a while or take a break from playing the other more challenging modes.

How to play

Basically, you just tap the letters you need to spell out a word and tap the enter button to submit it. Above the 6 jumbled letters are blank boxes where the letters appear when you type them. In addition, there are also multi-coloured empty boxes which represent the number of words you can form. The green ones are for 3-letter words, while 4-letter words appear in the yellow boxes. 5-letter words appear in the orange boxes and the red boxes are reserved for the 6-letter word. Each word’s score will depend on its word length, so to get a good score you need to get all the correct words, or at least all the highest scoring ones like the 5-6-letter words. To scramble the letters, tap the twist button. At the end of each round, regardless of the mode you’re in, all the words will appear in their respective boxes and you can learn their definitions by tapping them.

Compared to other word games

What makes Word Twist unique from other word puzzles is its consideration for its young players. Although other word games also have different modes, Word Twist has a mode specifically tailored for children. Moreover, aside from being able to pick a mode, players can also choose the level of difficulty of a round – easy, medium, and hard. In addition, the game has achievements that players can complete like finding a certain number of words and playing a certain number of rounds in one sitting. You can also keep track of the number of rounds you’ve played through the game statistics.

If you’re looking for an alternative game that’s similar to Text Twist, then Word Twist is a game you should definitely have on your Windows Phone.