This review is based on the iPhone version of Word Fu.
Do you like Scrabble? Do you want to play it without a board?
Well if you do, Word Fu is for you. Developed by the team at ngmoco, its concept is pretty simple: you get 9 cubes with letters on them, and you create as many words as possible out of those. Each cube has a different letter on each of its 6 sides, so you get a brief holding period before each game where you can flick them around to get a set of letters you’re happy with (always go in with a letter S, using both single and plural versions of words is an easy double score).
Once you’re in, you race against the clock as you tap out as many words as possible. Each successful entry adds a bit to your energy bar in the middle of the playing field; filling it up drops in a time freeze, double score or dice flick power up to help you out.
There’s no multiplayer, but the game includes leaderboards and also ties into the plus+ achievement/unified profile system that powers many of ngmoco’s games. The graphics are plain and the sound effects are cheesy, but the game either works for you or doesn’t on the gameplay. Maybe it’s unrealistic to expect a full dictionary within a compact portable game, but I was a bit vexed at times with rejection of a couple of uncommon words. You also need a pretty sharp memory of what you’ve already entered, as there’s no visual representation of what you’ve used until the round is over.
Word Fu is a simple experience with a singular game type, which is a solid offering. ngmoco has made it available for free, so anyone interested in puzzles and word play should take a look.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars