With Lettercraft, developer Marco Torretta has created a game built to conquer the mobile market. It’s a word game, one of the App Store’s most popular categories. It’s short, with each session taking just about two minutes. It’s even straightforward and easy to learn. The real success of Lettercraft, however, is its surprising depth and creative mechanics.
On the surface, Lettercraft is a fairly standard word game. When you start up a level, you are presented with a five by five grid of letters. The goal is to utilize these letters to form as many words as possible before time runs out. Lettercraft breaks a bit of word game tradition by allowing players to select letters that are not connected, but this mercy is appreciated when the game reveals its trickier nature.
Lettercraft contains a single player campaign mode that is rife with crafty challenges. One level might ask you to only use words with the letter “a,” while another will force you to come up with words longer than five characters. These challenges are extremely fun and push Lettercraft to the next level.
The sound design is very minimal, with only the barest of sound effects and no music at all. It’s not offensive or bothersome, but it doesn’t really add to the experience either. The graphics, however, are great. Everything has a little splash of color to it, and all of the icons animate slightly when selected.
Selecting letters is a breeze in Lettercraft. Simply tap on any letter to select it. When you’re done, a quick flick to the right will submit your word. If you’ve made a mistake, you can easily undo it by hitting the erroneously selected character. You can even lob off whole sections of a word by selecting a letter that appears earlier. For instance, if spelling the word “bad” you could strike the vowel “a” to deselect both “a” and “d.” It’s a solid system that works extremely well.
I love how easy Lettercraft is to control, but the real draw is the campaign mode. The challenges that the game provides are the most compelling thing I’ve seen in a word game to date. I love word puzzles, but always wind up neglecting my iPhone’s collection of them. I don’t see that happening with Lettercraft.
Lettercraft does have a few strange flaws, though, the first being that the game only supports Bluetooth multiplayer. This may have been a decision because Game Center takes care of issuing challenges, but it feels more like an oversight. The second flaw can be found in the game’s difficulty adjustments. Switching the single player difficulty over from medium to hard only increases the amount of points required to achieve each star. It doesn’t provide new challenges. It’s a nice little addition, and I realize that it didn’t need to be included. I just wish there was a bit more to it.
Lettercraft is free to download, but that really only gets you a demo version of the game. The compelling campaign mode is capped off at five levels. This effectively gates “survival” as well, because you need 20 stars to unlock it. In my mind, the $0.99 purchase to unlock these modes is a no brainer.
There is a lot of challenging gameplay here for such a low price. Things get a bit more complicated when looking at Lettercraft’s other in-app purchases, however. The game’s statistics are amazingly detailed, but come with a price tag of $1.99. Thirteen addition themes are also available for $0.99.
Finally, you can unlock the levels, the stats, and the themes all for $2.99. Themes have never really been my thing, but since I love stats I happily parted with my $2.99 and came away with themes in hand. Luckily, the game allows you to browse all of the color schemes and all of the stats before purchasing, which makes this an easy decision for anyone to tackle.
I highly recommend giving Lettercraft a look. It can be a fun little diversion if you want, or it can evolve into an engrossing challenge. The price point even mirrors this by adjusting to fit your desires. It’s free to try and well worth a go.
If you’re looking for a fun word game with a funky twist, Wordbase has you covered.