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We’re trying to find the words to say how good this word search game is

Many games merely make up the numbers. A precious few become part of history. In the latest entry in our series on classic iPhone games, we take a look at a title that expertly subverted and modernized a classic newspaper game format.

The original SpellTower, back in 2011.

What was SpellTower?

A word search game, but one where you picked out words using snaking paths rather than straight lines. It also removed completed words rather than striking through the letters. Tiles with nothing beneath them would then suddenly discover the existence of gravity and fall down. This forced you to think in new ways if you wanted to use as many tiles as possible and get a high score.

Why was it a classic?

This was creator Zach Gage’s first go at taking a recognizable newspaper-style puzzle format and reimagining it. He’s since applied the trick to a range of card and word games. SpellTower was the first, though, and proved to be simultaneously familiar and fresh. Additional modes provided variations that appealed to a range of players – including the tense Rush, which added new rows over time. It was like a marriage of word search and Tetris.

Where is it now?

The shiny new SpellTower, optimized for modern devices.

SpellTower continued to evolve. A couple of years ago, a freemium revamp appeared with yet more new modes (including a daily challenge) and improved visuals. Apple later integrated a version of the game into Apple Arcade.

However you choose to play, SpellTower has proven itself to be a timeless app – a word game equivalent of the aforementioned Tetris. It remains ideal for mobile play.

Visit the SpellTower website or get SpellTower (free or $4.99/£4.49) from the App Store. Alternatively, (the identical) SpellTower+ is part of Apple Arcade.

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