So long as you don't spell Iran or Zune, you'll be ok.
Imangi makes our brains hurt, but it's a good kind of pain, the type that makes us feel smart and worthy of gold stars. Whereas Tetris requires quick actions, Imangi's designers want us to take our time and think. This makes the game more cerebral than its flashier competition, but it also means our iPhone batteries are toast.
To play, you make words out of scrambled letters which is a lot harder that it sounds. For starters, the playfield is full of jumbled letters that assault the eyes, making it difficult to immediately come up with words. Even worse, the game throws a random assortment onto the screen, so you may have the letter Q one game and not have it the next, which will put a damper on forming the word quail.
Spelling a word is as easy as lining up the letters (by moving rows and columns with you're your finger) and tapping them. This immediately turns them green and adds points to your score. From there, you can form other words from those letters like in Scrabble, or set off to spell somewhere else. Keep in mind, however, that you cannot spell backwards (NEVO) for all words, and the rows and columns are linked, so moving a letter on the bottom of the screen may impact a spelled word at the top, forcing you to use some brain-power to figure out how to break up words and reposition them.
You'll also want to make words using all of the red letters, which grow in number depending on which of the four difficulty levels you choose. These are worth the most points and you'll receive a huge score bonus for using them all. That said, there is a penalty for not using them, which is deducted after the game tallies your final score. That won't happen until you command it to (by double tapping green letters), so you're free to spend as much time as you want swapping letters.
Unless you plug your phone into your computer or wall socket, however, time isn't your friend. If you're a word whiz, you'll finish puzzles in no time, but if you're as clueless as we are, staring blankly at the iPhone for several moments at a time will drain the battery. It's not the game's fault, just a warning if you play for extended periods.
Where the game falters is its vocabulary. Although it recognizes most words, Imangi's apparently never heard of Iran and could care less about what a Zune is. Furthermore, the game doesn't break up your high scores per difficulty level, so you'll see novice scores mixed with advanced ones.
We like Imangi. It's a bit complex and a great way to test our vocabularies. It lacks the snazzier graphics found in other puzzle games, but at $3.99 (Tetris and Bejeweled 2 cost $9.99), it's a cheap and entertaining brain teaser that'll keep you busy for a few hours, or at least until your iPhone needs recharging.
What's Hot: Forces you to use your brain, some strategy involved.
What's Not: Ugly, doesn't recognize certain words, high scores aren't broken up by difficulty level, at times intensely frustrating.