Only the most skilled word master can earn the coveted WordFu black belt.
Behold WordFu, the latest from Rolando creator ngmoco. This addictive puzzle game tests your vocabulary skills by forcing you to make words from a select group of letters. While other iPhone apps use the same premise, this one incorporates cool dice physics and equally appealing kung-fu effects that separate it from the competition.
Before playing WordFu, the game's designers give you the opportunity to select the available letters by physically shaking the iPhone. Doing this causes wooden blocks with letters on them to roll around the playfield. If you don't like what the game gives you (too many Zs and not enough Es, for example), gently shaking the iPhone will result in new ones; you have 20 seconds to do this. The round begins when the timer hits zero or you agree to the supplied letters.
To play, you tap letters to form words and then shake the iPhone to submit them to the game's 200,000 plus word dictionary. As you progress, power-ups appear that let you freeze time, double your score or flick one of the dice to receive a new letter. You'll need to move quickly, since each round takes 45 seconds to finish, providing you didn't stop the clock; if you grow bored of single player, the game has a two-person multiplayer mode that asks players to connect their iPhones to the same wireless network.
As you struggle to make words (the game deducts a point for incorrect entries), you'll enjoy kung-fu inspired sound effects (punches and "Hi-yahs!") and music. This humorous presentation, combined with the ability to earn belts the more points you score, gives WordFu lots of charm.
The only thing that annoys us is the game's inability to recognize certain words. While the dictionary recognizes the most common ones (as well as words that make no sense to us), it often fails to read people's names, despite picking up a good number of them.
That said, WordFu is a fun and relatively cheap ($1.99) app that'll keep you busy for weeks. The humorous presentation and addictive play make it an app everyone should play.
What's Hot: Cool dice physics, neat kung-fu sound effects, useful power-ups, dictionary recognizes over 200,000 words, the ability to earn belts based on performance, Wi-Fi multiplayer.
What's Not: Dictionary fails to identify select words, one-trick pony gameplay.