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For: iPhone

Ancient Chinese secret

Product: WordFu | Publisher: ngmoco | Format: iPhone | Genre: Multiplayer, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0
WordFu iPhone, thumbnail 1
Chinese sages wrote of Taoism as some ineffable state of being. You could never properly use words to describe it, but you would know exactly what it was when you started living it.

It's like hitting the zone while at work or driving a car or playing a tough game. To hit the zone is WordFu is a revelation, a moment in which it stops being just another word game and becomes an engrossing experience.

WordFu is played with 9 letter dice, your goal being to form words using the letters rolled. Each game begins with you shaking your handset to roll; if you're unhappy with any of the letters, you can either shake the handset to re-roll all of the dice or tap them for individual changes.

You're given just 15 seconds to make your choices, after which you're forced to start making words with what you have as a clock counts down.

With the dice set, you tap letters to create words. A flick of the handset enters the word for scoring. Any word not recognised by the game results in a point being subtracted from your total score, whereas an accepted word nets you points based on the letters used and adds a couple of seconds to the clock.

The faster you create words, the higher the score and the more time you build on the clock, which in turn gives you an opportunity to make more words and rack up points.

Strategy is an enormous part of WordFu, much in the vein of Scrabble. Before you even begin to draft words, the selection of letters is of critical importance. Choose a poor combination of letters and you find yourself stuck. You could know thousands of words, but if you don't have the right combination of letters with which to create them you're out of luck.

Even more, power-ups introduce another layer of strategy allowing you to roll individual dice in the middle of a round, freeze the clock momentarily, or temporarily double points awarded for a word.

Learning how to choose letters at the start of a game, as well as timing use of power-ups, is as essential as a varied vocabulary.

The fast pace of WordFu makes for more than just tense gameplay: short rounds are ideal for portability. Most rounds end after a few short minutes and even the longest games last no more than five or ten. There's always time for a game, which only feeds into an already addictive quality.

Despite its brevity, WordFu entertains high replay value thanks to nearly two dozen achievements, head-to-head play, and the sheer fun factor.

The drive to unlock the black belt achievement for scoring 5000 points in a single round or to trounce a friend via local wireless play is strong because it's simply a fun, challenging game. WordFu is not the first, nor will it be the last word game of its kind, yet it finds its own entertaining way.
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 2 March 2009
There's no secret about the furiously fast and addictive wordplay awaiting you in this styled, strategy-oriented word game
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