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Word Forward – a new take on word-based puzzlers

A fresh spin on the word puzzle

Price: $3/£3
Version: 1.2
Size: 146.9 MB
Platform: iPhone / iPad
Developer: Rocketship Park

Word Forward

Word Forward joins a vast army of word-based puzzles on the App Store, and while word games feel a little last decade, there’s enough of a unique take on this game to give players a mightily satisfying experience.

The aim is to clear the whole board

The game is played through a 10×10 board of lettered titles over a series of levels. The aim of the game is to use your finger to swipe across letters to create words of 3 letters or more. When you find a word, which you can select across, diagonally or in a more abstract pattern, as long as they’re in order and connected, then those letters disappear from the board. The goal of each level is to completely clear the board.

Be careful isolating letters that you can’t make a three-letter word out of

This is where the challenge – and it’s a significant one – in Word Forward comes into play. The tactics you employ have to be mighty. We had to take a whole bunch of tries at level 1 before we could complete it simply because we underestimated the mental agility and need for planning ahead.

There are some helpful methods to get you towards completion

Because if you were to clear a word and isolate 2 letters, well, you’ve failed the level because you can’t make that 3 letter word. If you go in too heavy on the consonants and are left with a bunch of vowels which can’t create words… well, refresh that level again, son.

It’s a little more flexible than a word search – the letters just have to be connected – even diagonally

Thankfully, Word Forward provides a little help. The most valuable is the ability to swap tiles around. In early levels, we could do this tactfully as you’re given about 4 or 5 swap opportunities before you have to complete a word. In later levels… it’s far fewer.

Enjoy some pride when you hit those long words

There are ever-present bonus tiles to assist you too – you’ve got a bomb tile, which lets you remove a single troublesome title, an option to completely refresh the remaining letters on the board. You always have 2 additional letters you can swap out with those on the board, and finally, you have the option to change a tile’s letter to any other letter.

You can use all these options once per game. If 3 or more remain on the board you get 3 gold stars for the level, if you use too many, you can progress, but you don’t get the gold star. It essentially gives two levels of difficulty for each level.

In terms of the design, Word Forward is simple and understated. The colors are measured and it generally doesn’t distract from the gameplay. Nice and simple. There are also no IAPs and no ways to complete levels by paying – this is pure tactics and strategy with words for the price of a cup of coffee.

That’s not to say Word Forward isn’t frequently frustrating. Sometimes it feels like you need to be thinking 10 steps ahead to clear the board, when any wrong step within those could spell the end. While that’s all part of the challenge there is that tipping point where difficulty becomes infuriating, and Word Forward frequently breaches it.

But we like it. And we like its simplicity and unrelenting confidence in its ability to challenge even those most seasoned word game players. While the game has little to do with vocabulary, it has a lot to do with thinking ahead and strategy. If that’s your bag, give it a shot.