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There are a lot of word games in the App store these days. Many of these, like Bookworm or Wordjong focus on vocabulary and learning. Word Fu (from ngmoco who brought us Rolando and Topple) is much more of an action game - akin to Boggle - focusing on reaction times and conjugation than drawing multi-sylabulled constructions from the recesses of your mind.
Mini games come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What unites the genre is the speed with which players can pickup the games and the relatively short time required to complete a level or two.
Word Fu is unique because of its focus on speed rather than vocabulary. Whilst the latter helps, it is the players ability to rapidly spot and conjugate words that results in the biggest scores.
The game offers you nine dice with which to create words. Letters can be reused as many times as required and their geographic location is not important. Before you start you can shake to reroll or flick dice to try and get a better set - here you really want to make sure you have an 'e', d' and 's' to enable you to conjugate well. This means you can rapidly pull out combinations like 'stop', 'stops' and 'stopped'.
You simply touch the dice in order to spell a word then shake to submit it - accompanied by an appropriate kung fu sound effect. Each successful word awards you with points and extra time.
As play proceeds you are awarded special dice that can increase score, stop the clock or enable you to flick one dice to a different letter. Once you have finished you are award a colourful variety of belts for particular achievements.
There is also a versus mode that can be played against players in the same WiFi zone.
Players will be attracted to the unusual Kung Fu sounds and visuals as well as the high impact play style. First attempts usually result in scores in the low hundreds, but at return visits players soon start to see patterns and collections of letters and words that score well. They learn to save their score multipliers and dice flicks until they are needed.
In this way the game develops an almost rhythm action quality as the player keeps up the pace of the words to keep the clock in double figures. Scores soon rise towards the thousands as their approach and pace are refined.
Although the game starts you off with just 60 seconds, long sessions of five or ten minutes soon develop as players learn to pause and extend their allotted time. Add to this the quick start and high desire to have one more go and this is a real time eater.
While young players may find the spelling a little tough to handle in the time pressured high impact environment of the game, those with more experience will soon rise to the challenge.
Families and friends often seem to develop rivalries to see who can achieve the highest score.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: