Wordament appears friendly and easygoing on its surface, but competition boils hot just underneath its skin.
There’s nothing more satisfying than playing a good word game against a bunch of contenders. The App Store truly gives us ample opportunities to demonstrate how much…better…good we are than our peers at forming clever words and phrases. Wordament, previously a Windows Phone exclusive, makes strengthening your vocabulary easier—and more frenzied—than ever thanks to an intense format that pits you against hundreds of players at once. You can even earn a few achievements for your Xbox Live profile.
Each round of Wordament takes place on a 4×4 grid that’s set with 16 letters. However, some rounds offer tiles with combined letters—”Qu” for instance, or “Re.” Scoring is simple: Slide your finger up, down, backwards, forwards, diagonally, and in any direction necessary to link letters and make words. The aforementioned double-letter tiles are a welcome sight, as they challenge you to get especially clever about the words you weave together. Sure, “cat” is perfectly acceptable, but it won’t score you a whole lot of scratch if some smarty pants playing alongside you spells out “catastrophic.”
Indeed, even though the game board seems calm for the two minutes of seemingly private time that you’re allotted to come up with words, every single round actually has you racing for points against hundreds of competitors. On a weekend or a holiday, a single round might even attract over a thousand players. Wordament‘s quiet-but-ferocious competition is its greatest strength. The game’s simple format and small puzzle board fools you into thinking you’re a genius for eking out a few five-letter words, but when your score is held up against the ladies and gentlemen that managed to dig up eight- and- nine-letter words, you feel stupid. And then you resolve to try harder.
Another major plus for Wordament is its connection to Xbox Live. You can earn up to 50 points worth of achievements, and better yet, you can measure your progress against the folks on your friends list. If you’re no match for clever strangers, it might be a good idea to narrow down your field of conquest.
Wordament is a simple-looking game, but it has subtle, classy charms. Whenever a round reaches its final seconds, a compelling tune begins to play. It’s soft and gentle, but it instills a small sense of panic, nonetheless. You might receive the push you need to finish big, or the signals in your brain might jam up and leave you dry at that crucial moment.
In fact, Wordament is so well-built that pointing out faults feels like nitpicking. You do need to be online to play, and more annoyingly, you’re sometimes thrust into a match with a minute left on the clock, which pretty much dooms you to a low score. A lobby option would be a nice addition, but as it stands, Wordament is one of the App Store’s must-have word games.