If only spelling bees were this exciting!
I’d like to think I’m pretty good with words. After all, I do spend my days here at Gamezebo pouring out hundreds of them. But it’s amazing how quickly you forget how to spell the most simplest of things when panic sets in, and you see all these other words rushing towards you with no signs of slowing down. This is Letter Rush, and it’s here to put your spelling skills to the ultimate test!
Letter Rush is sort of like Boggle, with the intensity meter cranked up to 11. Words fly by at the top of the screen, and you simply have to spell them by dragging your finger across a grid of letters at the bottom. Correctly spelling each word removes it from the game board, and gives you room to work on the words that are coming up behind it. Letters can be connected side by side, up and down, and even backwards, which makes stringing together those 7- and 8-letter words a real test of your brain and reflexes. You’ll have to be quick about it too, because if too many words reach the end of their track, then everything starts shaking and it won’t be long before those same tiles spell out a familiar “G-A-M-E O-V-E-R.”
The farther you get in the game, the more you’ll run into things like bombs or blank tiles in the middle of words. You’ll always want to go for the bomb words first, as they’ll blow the other words right out of your vicinity and give you some much-needed breathing room. The blank letters make things all the more complicated, as there is often more than one correct interpretation of a word, but only one track to get you there. For instance, “T-R-I-A-__” can just as easily be “Trial” or “Triad” upon first glance, and you may even have both options available for you to spell at times. Letter Rush is fast, thrilling, and unforgiving in the way it makes you spell these words on the fly. Each row of words has a protective pink barrier at the end of its track, that grants you a single save if you can’t spell a word in time (sort of like the lawnmower feature in Plants vs. Zombies). You can hold your finger down on any word to reveal its blank tiles, but you’ll waste precious seconds in the process if you do.
The game has a clean, smooth design, with awesome color schemes that change every time you fill up that progress bar and advance to the next level. The colors are soothing and easy on the eyes, like purple tiles on a white background, and white tiles on a blue background; which is a nice contrast to the frantic gameplay that makes up the rest of Letter Rush. Towards the end of some levels, the game will throw dozens of shaking words at you in one final rush, and it becomes a challenge in itself trying to focus on a single word to spell than anything else. In each game, you’ll also be tasked with three bonus challenges like “Clear 14 Shaking Words in a game” or “Clear 12 words with the letter O in a game,” and completing them all with net you an extra 500 gems for your efforts. The challenges are fun, but the objectives are nothing you can consciously work towards as you play, and you’ll mostly just stumble upon them by the end of each game or you won’t.
You can use the gems you earn from completing challenges and regular gameplay to buy some nifty power-ups that help you boost your score in subsequent playthroughs. Power-ups include adding an extra reinforcement wall, making the words move slower, removing any blank spaces, and doubling or tripling your overall score. However, this mechanic leaves a bit to be desired, and there’s no real long-term goals or incentive to keep playing other than trying to beat your high score. You play the game to earn gems in order to buy new power-ups, which you can use to get farther in the game and earn more gems, etc. Letter Rush also offers a multiplayer mode, but the game takes over 2 minutes to match you with another player, and I haven’t actually been able to launch a multiplayer game yet without the application hanging up as soon as I’ve finally found a partner.
While it isn’t perfect, Letter Rush is a fun and fast-paced word game that provides exhilarating spelling gameplay for word-lovers of all ages, no matter the extent of your vocabulary. Despite a few bumps in the multiplayer and longevity departments, a sharp design and cool gameplay mechanics will change your outlook on words, and have even the smartest of English majors scrambling to spell them!