Word-based puzzle games are a big deal on iOS, which is home to the likes of Words with Friends, Scrabble, Bookworm, W.E.L.D.E.R., and countless others in the genre. The latest entry, SpellTower from developer Zach Gage, takes a minimalist approach to word-forming gameplay while delivering a striking visual presentation.
Recently reduced to $0.99 and made a universal app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, SpellTower challenges players to clear away blocks from the screen by forming words from the random selection they’re presented with. Each letter is assigned a score, and players drag their finger across them in order to form words containing three or more letters. They’re shown the word score before submitting the word, in case they spot a better choice and want to back out. The board includes black boxes that can only be cleared by forming words around them, and blue boxes containing letters that, when used in a word, clear the entire line. Words can be formed forwards, backwards, and diagonally, but can only be used once per game.
Unlike most puzzle games, which place an urgency on completing the board, SpellTower lets players solve it at their own pace. When they feel that they’ve formed all the possible words from the board, they tap “finished” and are shown their total score along with their best word. The game keeps track of this data, and offers Game Center support for leaderboards of friends’ best scores.
In addition to its standard puzzle mode, SpellTower features a Puzzle mode, Extreme Puzzle mode, and Rush mode. In the two former, forming words causes an additional line of letters to appear on the screen, pushing everything up a row. If any of the letter blocks reaches the top of the game board, the game ends. Extreme Puzzle mode makes things harder by raising the minimum letter count for forming words. In Rush mode, new lines of letters are added over time, filling the board like in the Puzzle modes.
SpellTower was developed by Zach Gage, a programmer and conceptual artist living in New York City. Gage has been responsible for cult favorite iOS titles including Bit Pilot, Halcyon, Unify, and synthPond. SpellTower is currently at No. 32 on the App Store’s list of top paid iPhone games, and No. 17 on the same list for iPad.
You can follow SpellTower’s progress using AppData, our tracking service for mobile games and developers.