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Mobile  header logo

1000 Words

For: Mobile

Hit or myth? Either way this one is surely a conundrum!

Product: 1000 Words | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: Mobile | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | Reviewed on: K700i other handsets | Version: Europe
1000 Words Mobile, thumbnail 1
Can you imagine Carol Vorderman in a skimpy toga? You can? Ah, perhaps that's a bad example. Okay then, how about Des Lynham sat half-naked, astride an ethereal mount?

A tougher challenge, admittedly. Yet if you can perform the mental agility required, you're at least half way to getting to grips with 1000 Words, which can best be described as TV-word game Countdown given an ancient Athenian twist.

Whilst the dichotomy of the settings couldn't be more pronounced (on the one hand, you have a low-rent Yorkshire TV studio packed with cardigan-wearing contestants, and the other, you are head-to-head with mythological foes in the seat of the ancient Gods), the central vocabulary-challenging premise remains broadly the same.

Presented with a series of up to seven jumbled letters, you are challenged by a succession of ethereal characters to create a set number of words within a limited time. Achieve the task and you'll march onward to Olympus. Fail and you'll be cheesily mocked and condemned to spend an eternity featuring as an extra in Ray Harryhausen movies (not really – we're just pulling your toga).

If you're wondering, they have to be proper words, too, as recognised by the game's internal database. Not the ones you might try and slip into a late-night Scrabble game, safe in the knowledge you've hidden the only dictionary.

Of course, you can always guess (and may indeed have to at some points during the game), although this approach is dissuaded by the presence of random penalties such as reversed letters, hidden tiles or time reductions, delivered with a lightning bolt after a couple of erroneous attempts.

What makes these risks worth taking and, crucially, the game a whole more engaging than it might have been, is the sheer polish and panache of the delivery. For starters, there's a host of refreshing gameplay variations to keep you on your toes, such as the challenge that forces you into guessing a particular length of word each time, or the one requiring you to work out a particular conundrum in just six attempts.

Above and beyond this, as is often the case with Gameloft's mobile titles, the deity really is in the detail. From the grandiose storyline and stylish presentation (complete with stylised letters etched into stone tablets), to the subtly increasing difficulty level and a randomised power-up system that provides a quick fix or freezes time when you're really struggling, everything here feels well crafted.

There's a good deal of value on offer too, with ten levels in the main quest and a quick-play mode enabling you to take on any of the different types of challenges. And while we can't confirm the 1000 Words of the title, we didn't come up against any repeats in our prolonged testing.

Admittedly, there are a few slight niggles. The control system can feel a little unwieldy at first, as you fritter away valuable seconds cycling through the letters. And we're also reasonably sure of one instance where a word was in our dictionary but not the game's.

Naturally, the whole vocabulary-testing premise clearly won't be to everyone's taste – certainly not those who prefer, say, a round of sudoku. However, if you are in any way a fan of Countdown or enjoy a little wordplay in general, then this is most definitely one from the top.
1000 Words
Reviewer photo
Chris Jame | 17 February 2006
A truly classical game which will prevent word-lovers from getting cross
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