Wordz IQ is a Facebook game from Playforia. It’s another entry in the company’s “IQ” series, which now includes Bubbles IQ, Gems IQ and Poker IQ.
All of Playforia’s “IQ” games follow a similar formula — players compete in the game’s challenges individually, then their scores are tallied up with their friends’ in order to produce a “team IQ score.” Reaching various milestones in the “team score” awards all players with free powerups that can be used in the game — these usually cost real money to acquire, as there is no other in-game currency.
While the basic structure of Playforia’s “IQ” games is the same, the actual play mechanics are rather different in each instance. While Bubbles IQ, which we reviewed here, was a conventional bubble shooter, Wordz IQ is a single-player crossword/Scrabble-style puzzle game that challenges players to create words using a limited selection of letters.
Each level begins with an objective — usually “make [x] words in [y] time.” The player is then given a strict time limit in which to use letters from their Scrabble-style rack at the bottom of the screen to make words. Like in Scrabble and its variants, the first word must be laid over a starting space, but unlike Scrabble, Wordz IQ features a variety of different board layouts, some of which have more available spaces than others, and some of which even have “blocked” squares on which letter tiles cannot be placed.
The time bar at the side of the screen is divided into three sections. If the player lays down a word quickly, they receive triple its value; a little slower and they get double; allow it to fall into the red and they only get its basic value. The “triple” and “double” areas are reset after each word has been laid, but time is not added to the bar. Players may also add to their scores by laying words across special tiles that double or triple letter or word values.
There are three powerups available for players to use, available either in exchange for a payment or as a reward for reaching a milestone on the team’s IQ score. A “hint” powerup suggests possible words and may be used as many times as it is available in a single level; a “swap all” powerup allows the player to exchange all the letters in their rack and again may be used as many times as the player likes, number on hand permitting; meanwhile, an “extra time” powerup may be used once per level to provide the player with a “second chance.” If the player runs out of time during a level, they are prompted to purchase a time extension powerup if they do not already have one, though they do not have to use this facility if they do not wish to.
Social features for the game include the aforementioned “team” facility, but players are also able to view a global leaderboard to see how they shape up to other competitors around the world. An achievement system is also planned for inclusion soon, but this has not yet been implemented at the time of writing.
Wordz IQ is a fun puzzle game that only gets more fun when friends are involved. While it is not outright competitive per se, the team-based system encourages players to play together, and a special “rally” button allows them to give each other a “nudge” where appropriate. There’s no real development over time as there’s no “progression” system as such, but the simple, randomized nature of the gameplay means that this is a title that can be endlessly replayed for a different experience every time. It’s a considerably better game than the rather underwhelming Bubbles IQ, and deserves to enjoy some success.
A fun, addictive word puzzle game with a nice cooperative twist.