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WordFu

Quack. Quark. Ark. Rack.

Neat. Eat. Ate. Teen.

Pain. Panic. Picnic. Nap.

WordFu is a game of spelling. Players are given a set of dice, each with a letter, and tasked in 45 seconds to spell out as many words as they possibly can from the allotment. Another deceptively simple game for the iPod and iPhone, WordFu has gained immense popularity amongst App Store offerings for the simplicity of its design and addictive nature. Once purchased, WordFu becomes an essential application for every moment of boredom.

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There’s no storyline, no characters. This is a simple, straight-forward game. Once you click play, your dice are tossed onto the game board. Players then have 15 seconds to either roll for new dice, flick a few of them to other letters, or accept the letters as they are and begin play. While I liked to fiddle around with what fate gave me and choose different, better letters, purists looking for a challenge will accept whatever pieces their dealt and probably be better off for it.

Once you’ve accepted your pieces, the timer begins to count down. Using the touch screen, you tap your letters to spell out words. Once you’ve entered your word, you shake the device to enter it. A score and additional time is given for each word, both increasing depending on the complexity of the word you’ve spelled out. Points are removed for words spelled incorrectly. As your progress, you’ll be granted a few special pieces. One doubles your word scores for a brief period, another lets you flick a die and potentially get a new letter and a final letter that temporarily freezes time.

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I found myself incredibly addicted to trying to get higher and higher scores. In addition to besting the high score, players will also unlock achievements (fittingly referred to as belts) as their final scores increase or they complete certain goals, like using the same letter in a word four times or using all your dice to spell a single word. While completing these goals doesn’t add any new features to the game, I couldn’t stop playing until I earned all my belts.

Typical kung fu movie music accompanies the game and works to drown out some annoying sound effects. Each time you tap a letter, you’ll hear a kung fu master making the grunts he would while kicking in the dojo. While thematic, it proved to be a little more than annoying after long play periods.

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Turns out, your grade school teacher was right: spelling can be fun. A well-designed game, WordFu is one of the smartest games available on the iPod and iPhone. WordFu’s incredible simplicity yields to a complicated game that will get almost anyone hooked after just one game. Missing this game would be a huge mistake.

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

Gentle persuasion

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