Word games are like shoes; no matter how many you have, you can always make room for more. All iPad-owning logophiles will want to give Swangle a try. Swangle is a letter-swapping word game that offers players a choice of three types of game play — Classic, Survival, and Point Attack — with the promise of more to come in future updates.
The player aims to form words either horizontally or vertically that are at least two letters long. Words longer than 3 letters earn bonus points. Forming a word clears the letters, though new letters drop down at scheduled intervals, so don’t dawdle. If the letters reach the top of the screen, it’s game over.
After choosing a user name play begins when the player taps one of these three areas.
Classic offers five levels of challenge, though levels four and five are locked. The object of level one is to clear all but nine tiles. New letters are added at 50 second intervals.
Survival mode pits the player against the clock, while Point Attack focuses on reaching a particular point threshold to clear the level. Of the three levels, I found Point Attack to be the easiest, so that may be a good place new players to start. I found that using all but a few of the tiles or beating the clock was much tougher than scoring points.
There is no penalty for guessing, so I tried out a range of oddball two letter combos to use up some unwanted letter u tiles. Users can replay a level as many times as they like, which improves Swangle’s replay value.
There are a number of special tiles that spice up the game. Swangle also keeps track of the user’s best word in each game, as well as best all-time scoring word.
Swangle doesn’t hook into Game Center or any social media, so anyone addicted to sharing their high scores on Twitter may be a little disappointed.
Download Swangle for iPad from the App Store for $1.99.
What I liked: Swangle’s attractive GUI is sleek and polished with a handsome burled wood background. Swangle lets you add words to its dictionary. This is both a plus and a minus, since a crafty player could add a range of useful two letter combos that aren’t really words. On the up side, foreign words whose meaning may be familiar to players could be added, reducing frustration during game play.
What I didn’t like: Swangle isn’t universal, so players have to pay more than once to access the game on an iPhone/iPod touch as well as the iPad. Free Play appears to be a hold over from the iPhone version of the game. Free Play is intended to give users a sense of how to play the game, but it makes little sense to include it in the iPad version, since this version lacks the in-app purchase to unlock the full game found in the iPhone version.
To buy or not to buy: Word game fiends will enjoy Swangle, though it’s definitely more challenging than the other contenders in its category.
- App Name: Swangle
- Version Reviewed: 1.40
- Category: Games
- Developer: James Dunay
- Price: $1.99