Overview

My Word Coach is an educational tool that aims to increase the size and quality of your vocabulary. Through a variety of minigames and a tracking system that all ring clearly of the Brain Age games for the D.S., you’ll be exposed to words taken from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. I’ll leave it up to some university study to determine how much it increases your vocabulary, but whether or not it actually works I enjoyed seeing what words they’d throw at me.

Features

  • Large Vocabulary

My Word Coach apparently uses over 16,000 words from a dictionary that seems to have been created solely for smart folks. I didn’t encounter any repeat words in my time with the game, but spend enough time with it and I’m sure you’d run into old favorites.

  • “Coach” is Right!

With multiple coach personas to choose from, you’ll be encouraged in the way that suits you best. Your scores and progress will be tracked, and you’ll receive feedback after every exercise.

  • iPhone Inspired Interface

From the familiar scrolling wheels to the smooth, rounded buttons, it’s clear this game was designed to be visually coherent with the iPhone’s style. It does include original graphics that give the game it’s own personality. This game is a pleasure to look at.

  • Choose Your Challenge

With a number of different minigames, you’ll be able to mix things up and meet your daily quota without getting burnt out. The games are pretty simple, but they definitely get the job done.

Breakdown

The Good:

I feel like this is a legitimate educational tool for most people from teenagers on up. Building on the fun play-to-learn aesthetic that so many developers have struggled to perfect, this game gives you what you need to get yourself ahead in terms of having a broader, more expressive vocabulary. There are other options out there for accomplishing the same goal, but I doubt they cost only five dollars.

This is also a very polished product. I am more and more impressed with Gameloft games every time I review one. Everything ran smoothly, looked great, and worked perfectly, so that the game was able to deliver the intended experience. Plenty of instructions are made available but not forced on you, making sure you are always in the know.

For the most part the definitions of words are clear and easy to understand. What’s better is that after each exercise the word list is displayed and you can click a word to see its definition. This was a great touch, and makes it easy to review words you had trouble with.

The Bad:

There were a couple of things I felt could have been done better in terms of the learning part of the game. When the definitions of words are displayed, some of the definitions oversimplify and don’t match the real meaning of the word. Or, there’s some ambiguity as to which definition you’re being presented. For instance, when I see “rehash” I normally think verb instead of noun. The definition presented in-game is the noun form of the word, which tripped me up for a minute. I think in order to clear up that ambiguity and also to educate players further, Gameloft could have (and should have) included the parts of speech for each vocab word.

Another minor annoyance was that if you receive a call mid-game or have to exit out to the home screen, it doesn’t save your progress. This is not a huge deal because each minigame typically lasts less than a couple minutes, but it still irked me a little. Having the option to continue from where I left off might have been nice, but then again I suppose there might be a detriment to the knowledge retention if the exercise and the review are split up.

Verdict

This is a great game for anyone who feels like they want to get a little brainier. It nails the mix of real education and gaming, and was a very solid experience overall. I wonder if they have coach games for other things, like languages. If they have a Portuguese or Japanese coach game, I am all over it! Ubisoft and Gameloft have a great formula here, and unless you’re already a scrabble master, I am fairly confident you’d learn a thing or too.