There’s something be said for anyone who looks at a game like Centipede and thinks: ‘Word game.’ Yet that’s exactly what the developer of Super Cosmic Word Snake did. Modeled after a table-top arcade game from the 80’s, this iPad game is part retro shooter and part fast-paced word game. It’s also a lot of fun.
Depending on which role you choose, Super Cosmic Word Snake is either a blatant clone of Centipede or a bizarre, snake-based Scrabble game. At the bottom of the screen is the traditional spacecraft that can only move left and right while shooting at rocks, avoiding missiles, and trying to destroying the downward-moving snake. Destroy the snake, and player one wins.
Player two, however, is where the real fun lies. The snake is made up of words. Player two is given a series of random letters and must add segments to the snake by forming new words. The new word must start with the last letter of the previous word, and there’s real incentive to form words larger than three letters. Three-letter words only take one shot to destroy, while longer words take two. If the snake reaches the bottom of the screen, player two wins.
Beware the taco snake.
That’s the whole game. Super Cosmic Word Snake takes a simple arcade classic and makes it feel surprisingly fresh with the addition of a word puzzle and focus on two-player action. Everything else here is a pure homage to games of the early-80’s. The graphics are primitive and basically black and white, and the sound effects are blips and beeps.
The presentation is nostalgically engaging, but we can’t help but think that a more modern look would have increased the fun factor. The other important issue to note is that Super Cosmic Word Snake is definitely a two-player game. While you can play by yourself, the single-player game is really just a practice session to get the hang of forming words while under fire.
If you’re looking for a fun game to play together, this is definitely a solid choice. Super Cosmic Word Snake wears its retro love on its virtual sleeve, and the almost surreal merging of shooting and forming words is fun and original.