Ayopa’s W.E.L.D.E.R. Spells Out New Twist on iOS Word Games

Ayopa Games, a new publisher co-founded by Chillingo’s former head of publishing, has a new puzzle title out called W.E.L.D.E.R. (short for “Word Examination Laboratory for Dynamic Extraction and Reassessment”) from developer Highline Games. Launched yesterday, it combines elements of word-making games like Scrabble and Words With Friends with falling block and tile-swapping puzzle mechanics. In addition to making words using provided letter titles, players are encouraged to swap letters and use special titles to boost their scores.

The game is played on a familiar grid-style game board, with randomized letter titles already on it, much like a crossword puzzle. Players form words primarily by swapping titles, which must be adjacent to one another. The number of swaps they can use are limited. Words must be at least four letters long, and are automatically submitted when formed. Players can also form words using blank titles, which themselves can be swapped around on the board. Tapping twice on a blank title brings up a keyboard that can be used to choose which letter players want to stamp onto the title. Once it’s set, it can’t be changed. For every 250 points players score, they’re given five additional swaps to use.

After a word is formed and accepted, players are awarded a score, which is multiplied if any special tiles were used in its creation. Formed words are added to a ticker underneath the game board, which displays the score awarded for them. Players can tap on the words in the ticker to bring up a definition for them using iOS 5’s built-in dictionary. These definitions can be shared by players via Twitter and Facebook. The title also utilizes iOS 5’s iCloud functionality to push saved games to the cloud, enabling players to continue their game in progress on another device.

W.E.L.D.E.R. is published by Ayopa Games, a privately-funded San Francisco Bay Area company formed earlier this year by former Chillingo head of publishing Johnny Coghlan and Elliott Chin, previously the head of worldwide product marketing for Logitech. Coghlan also used to be the vice president of business development for Storm8. The game’s developer, Highline Games, was formed in early 2011 by Eli Wiessman and Anthony Litton, who came from Rockstar Games, and Britt Meyers, formerly of New York-based post production company Great City Productions. W.E.L.D.E.R. is the first title from the privately funded indie developer.

Apple has chosen W.E.L.D.E.R., a $1.99 universal app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, as its Game of the Week. The title is already charting at No. 61 on the iPhone paid games list and is at No. 42 on the iPad’s paid games chart.

You can follow W.E.L.D.E.R.’s progress using AppData, our tracking service for mobile games and developers.