Wurdle Review

“Wurdle” isn’t a real word, so it won’t get you any points in this word puzzle game from Semi Secret Software. Luckily, an awesome game by any other name is still awesome; this engaging and addictive take on the Boggle-like word jumble genre earns our highest recommendation.

Wurdle presents you with a grid of familiar letter-squares. Your goal is to find as many words as you can in the grid before time runs out. The touch-based interface is unobtrusive, as you build words by simply dragging your finger from one letter to any adjacent letter. You can’t move the letter-squares, but you can make complex zig-zag patterns tracing between squares. You can also shake the iPhone to get new letters and reveal new combinations. It’s easy to find three-letter words in this mess’”in fact, you may be surprised how many three letter words are out there. However, three-letter words are chump change in Wurdle. The real money points are in longer words: a nice long word like “requested” is worth many times more than “dog”. However, it can take awhile to find those longer words, so you might do better to go for quantity, not quality.

Whatever strategy you pursue, you only have a limited time to hunt for words–one, two or three minutes, per your choice. You can also choose the size of the gameboard, from 4×4 to 8×8. The large boards increase your chances of finding longer words, but the letter-squares are a bit small, which can be frustrating if you have large fingers. The smaller boards are easier to read, and seem to make it easier to find words rapidly.

There are many other customization options, too. For instance, you change the appearance of the tiles, and even use your own pictures as backdrops. You can also turn on the iPhone’s status bar, so you can keep track of the time. The shake to shuffle feature can be adjusted for sensitivity, or turned off completely (just tap three times quickly to reshuffle). The interface is folded right into the game, so all of these controls are easy to access and very intuitive.

Once you’ve completed a round, you can choose to see all the words you didn’t find. Who knew that “coniosis” was a word? Further, you can report both your score and the longest word you find to the Wurdle online score database. This is our only real quibble with the game’”looking at the online top scores requires a trip to Safari.

If you are any kind of word puzzle fan, Wurdle is a must-have, and a fantastic bargain at $1.99. It’s one of the most usable iPhone games we’ve played yet, and it’ll sharpen your Scrabble game to a razor point.

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