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SpellTower review: SpellTower

SpellTower

Jaymar_Cabebe.jpg
Jaymar_Cabebe.jpg
Jaymar Cabebe Former Associate Editor
Jaymar Cabebe covers mobile apps and Windows software for CNET. While he may be a former host of the Android Atlas Weekly podcast, he doesn't hate iOS or Mac. Jaymar has worked in online media since 2007.
Jaymar Cabebe
3 min read

SpellTower is one of the most neatly designed word-puzzle games I've seen. Similar to Boggle or Scramble With Friends, it asks you to find words among a grid of lettered tiles. You can trace over letters horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, and even overlap the path that you trace.

spelltower_sidebyside2.jpg
8.6

SpellTower

The Good

<b>SpellTower</b> offers different game modes and multiplayer action, which give the game exceptional replay value. Also, it's one of the best looking word games we've seen.

The Bad

Could use more special tiles. Also, more detailed stats would be nice.

The Bottom Line

SpellTower is a unique word puzzle game that is well worth its price, especially since it has such high replay value.

What sets this game apart from others in the genre is that it also pulls in elements from the popular gem-matching game Bejeweled. For instance, once you find a word on the board, those tiles disappear (just like matching gems do in Bejeweled), causing the remaining tiles to drop down and occupy the newly vacated spaces on the board. Thus, the board keeps changing, which is an added challenge. To do really well in this game, you must think ahead and set up the board for higher-scoring moves down the road. It may seem a little complicated at first, but once you go through the clear and detailed tutorial, you'll get the hang of it in no time.

SpellTower mixes Boggle with Bejeweled (pictures)

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In SpellTower your primary objective is to score as many points as possible by finding as many high-value words as possible. Words must be at least three letters in length, and longer words are worth more. Words with five or more letters give you an added bonus and even cause adjacent letters to disappear, making it even more difficult to preplan moves. Other challenges include empty tiles, which are unusable, and blue tiles, which remove an entire row if used.

After the tutorial, you can only play Tower Mode, which is the most basic of the modes available. It gives you a 96-tile board (it says 150, but I counted 96) on which you have to find as many high-value words as you can. There is no time limit. As you use up your tiles, they won't be replaced, though, so the point here is to thoroughly think through your options and try to find the best words possible.

Four different solo modes and a multiplayer mode make for some high replay value. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Once you play Tower Mode, you'll be able to unlock Puzzle Mode and Ex Puzzle Mode, both of which add an element of pressure to the game, as they insert a new row of tiles to the board each time you find a word. If your tiles reach the top of the board, the game is over. Finally, there's Rush Mode, which feels a bit like Tetris as it inserts tiles intermittently, as time passes. All of the different modes are addicting and challenging in their own unique ways.

If you have a friend with SpellTower, you can also try the frantically paced multiplayer mode. Each time you find a word, the game drops a handful of letters on your opponent's board. The idea here is to keep your tiles from reaching the top.

SpellTower comes with two different theme options. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

One thing I love about SpellTower is its look and feel. For a simple word puzzle, it's beautiful, with its clean, minimalist lines and bright color palette. It even offers both a light and a dark theme in case you want to switch things up.

In future updates I'd love to see more game stats. As it is now, SpellTower keeps track of your highest game score and best scoring word. But it would be great to see more detailed records that indicate how you're improving over time. Because SpellTower is mostly about challenging yourself to score higher, these types of statistics would be fun to look at. Also, a wider variety of "special" tiles might make for some better game play.

Typically, puzzle games and word games have high replay value, and SpellTower is no different. What's more, though, SpellTower comes with four different puzzle modes and a Wi-Fi multiplayer mode, giving players even more to come back to.

spelltower_sidebyside2.jpg
8.6

SpellTower

Score Breakdown

Setup 10Features 8Interface 10Performance 9