SpellTower Review

SpellTower Review

Mar 7, 2013

Zach Gage’s SpellTower is a game that is a long time coming to Android; released initially in 2011 (and winner of the 2011 Best App Ever award for word games, with a 2012 runner-up finish), two years later it’s now available for Android devices.

The goal is to spell words on the board by connecting a line between letters that are adjacent horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Forming a word eliminate the tiles on the board, the important thing being that the tiles will fall when a match is made. Thus, the game becomes not just about forming words, but about the interplay of the tiles as well. Thus, the game is more than just a word game, it’s a puzzle game as well. The game reportedly had its genesis in that the creators of another game, Puzzlejuice, described the game to Zach Gage and he made his interpretation of it, despite not being a fan of word games.

Even if he wasn’t a fan of word games beforehand, Zach Gage is very good at making them. SpellTower definitely encourages players to make complex words when possible, to examine the board and try to make the best match possible. Most of the modes are not-based around time, but around the status of the board, either when no more moves are possible in the Tower mode, or when the board fills up in the Puzzle modes, which add a row every time a move is played. It sounds simple enough until players realize that a new row gets added every time that amove is made. Rush mode takes the mechanic of the Puzzle mode and instead makes the board fill up over time, providing a quicker version of the same great game. There’s even the multiplayer Debate mode between two devices.

The game is a fantastic port from iOS, and on Android’s 7″ tablets, the game is a fantastic fit. It looks great, and controls well, either by drawing a line from tile to tile, or by tapping from tile to tile. The tutorial is fantastic: detailed enough to teach the game, yet short enough to not be obnoxious. Even two years later, the game stands out, and is a ton of fun to play, because of the challenges that it presents. Eventually, when longer words must be formed, it really forced me to sit there and see about making just the necessary move, to consider what the move I could make would have on the board as a whole; if I split the board in two by taking out too many center pieces, it could lead to my doom, for example. It’s a puzzle game that’s also a word game, and that’s what makes it so great. Check this one out.

SpellTower Review Rundown

10
Graphics/Sound - A very crisp and effective look that's largely minimalist.
9
Controls - Some occasional issues with swiping popped up on the Nexus 7, but tapping works great, and it's difficult to make a word you didn't intend to spell.
10
Gameplay - The fact that the game functions both as a word-finding game along as a more traditional puzzle game gives it an edge that few other titles have.
9
Replay Value - There's 5 different gameplay modes (including the multiplayer mode), though 3 are variants of the same concept, though there's still plenty of fun to have here.
9.5
Overall - One of the finest word games available.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Carter Dotson
Carter Dotson, editor of Android Rundown, has been covering Android since late 2010, and the mobile industry as a whole since 2009. Originally from Texas, he has recently moved to Chicago. He loves both iOS and Android for what they are - we can all get along!
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