I must admit that I spend a lot of time on so-called “mindless” games– RPGs, dungeon crawlers, old-school arcade shooters like Galaga, etc. But sometimes I want something a little more thoughtful, something that makes me think while I’m “wasting” my time. Word Watch definitely fits into that latter category, offering a word game that is both fun and challenging.
When you first start the game, you are greeted appropriately enough with a watch. The face of the watch gives you three different options: starting a regular game of Word Watch, entering practice mode, or playing in untimed mode. There’s also a small help button at the bottom of the screen, denoted by a question mark.
Choose Word Watch, and the game begins. You start with five letter tiles that you must rearrange to create a word; play each tile by tapping on it in the proper order. You must use all of the tiles to move on to the next round. If you don’t, you get a red tile at the bottom of the playing area–get too many of those, and it’s game over. Fortunately you have the chance to get rid of those dreaded red tiles in the bonus round. The catch is that you have to use the same letters you just used to create a word, plus the letters on the red tiles you’ve accumulated. In other words, you do have a chance to “redeem” yourself with this game, but you have to be very clever (and have a great Scrabble-style vocabulary) in order to get ahead.
The practice mode is just as you would expect, though when you start you have the choice of using 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 letter words. There is still a time limit, as in the regular game, and there are special bonus rounds here as well. Unlike in the original Word Watch game, these bonus rounds don’t use the letters on the red tiles. Instead, you have to create a second word using all of the same tiles from the first word. It’s devilishly hard and lots of fun. Untimed mode is for those times when you’re looking for a challenge in the brain department, but don’t really feel like racing against the clock.
Word Watch is a fun game with a clever concept, challenging play, and sharp graphics. I wish that it worked in 320×480, though that isn’t necessary. The sound effects are pretty good, though not superb. Be careful the first time you play, as there will be a bit of opening music, even if your device sound volume is set to “all off” as it is on my LifeDrive. You should also be careful to ensure that you don’t get addicted, because Word Watch is a lot of fun. You can get a free trial or purchase it for $14.95 at the Smart Box Design web site.