Words games are ten a penny on iOS and developers are increasingly trying to find interesting ways to stand out from the crowd. Publisher Gameflys first foray onto digital development and distribution, Writer Rumble, tries to do this by merging a boggle-style game with a one on one fighting game.
This isn’t the first time that the puzzle and fighting genres have been melded together and, the title looks remarkably similar to Super Puzzle Fighter, both in terms of the bright, cartoony presentation shared by both products, and the inventive merging of two different styles. In Writer Rumble, the fighters are made up from a roster of literary giants from all eras, such as Edgar Allen Poe, Jane Austen and Homer.
There are two modes to choose from, Survive with Words and Fight with Words, the former being the single player section of the game and the latter being the multiplayer. Single player mode has you select a writer and you are faced with an increasingly difficult wave of monsters and the only way to defeat them is by drawing you finger over the boggle-style tile layout to create a variety of words. Creating longer words creates an attack that generates more damage and once that word has been used it can no longer be selected, forcing you to increase your vocabulary.
Each of the characters has different abilities, but these only come into play in the multiplayer. In the single player mode, no matter who you pick, you select from a variety of abilities, load out style, and these make subtle but not too massive differences to how you approach your challenge. These include the ability to select a fresh board of letters, double you damage temporarily and increase your health for a short amount of time to name but three.
Survive with Words is very challenging and you are not expected to survive, just to do so for as long as possible for a high score and attempt to create the highest individual word score you can. In terms of single player content, that is all you are going to get, as the real meat of the game lies in playing against others.
The multiplayer has had some initial hiccups on release, but during my own time with the game over the past couple of weeks, it has so far worked seamlessly. The only problems I have encountered are the odd time where I have had to exit the game due to not being able to select words from the board. Venturing online, there appears to be plenty of people playing and you are quickly and constantly notified whether you wish to join an online game; fortunately there is the option to turn this off in options the menu. Local multiplayer is available via Bluetooth and the game supports the usual social integration such as posting your performance to Facebook and Twitter.
Fight with Words appears to be the best way to play Writer Rumble. The single player can feel repetitive and is only really good for short bursts, but online there is a better sense of competition. The limitation to two modes makes the game feel a little slim as an overall package, despite the fun contained in the main game play mode.
There’s no getting away from the fact that you are still playing yet another boggle-style word game, albeit one played under a strict time limit and with the added pressure of another player constantly reducing your health and therefore your time to concentrate.
This fast-pace is sometimes to the game’s detriment. During both modes, it can sometimes feel that you are under such constant pressure that you find yourself looking for as many shorter words quickly and that you don’t have the time to look for longer ones. Asynchronous play is something that is noticeable by its absence, and hopefully may be a future feature.
As only developer Feel Every Yummy’s second iOS game, Writer Rumble is a solid puzzler with no small amount of charm. Other games such as Scramble with Friends still dominate, and it will be hard to see this game challenge for superiority. Writer Rumble is a slight but fun title that offers enough novelty and distraction to catch your attention for a short amount of time, but doesn’t have the depth in its vocabulary to really command your respect.
MLG Rating: 7/10 Platform: iOS Release Date: 29/11/2012
Disclosure: Craig Hallam purchased a digital copy of Writer Rumble for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of two weeks on an iPod Touch. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.