SpellStacker (Free) by D.R.Thorsrud is the latest must-have crossword game. Game play is much like the popular apps Words With Friends or Scrabble, but this one has a cool twist. Place your tiles on top of other tiles for new words and bonus points! SpellStacker is also related to the board game UpWords. This universal app (play on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad) is free and fun.
Play live with a friend, online with a friend (invite in-app via email), online with a random opponent, or all by yourself (good for practice). Drop down tips, which you can disable if you like, guide you along the way. Play timed or untimed. You’ll need to tap your rack at the bottom to show your tiles. Then simply drag and drop your tiles onto the board to form words and “enter” to get your points. Much like other crossword games, there are bonus spots: Wx2 to double the point value of your word, and Wx3 to triple it. In addition, you’ll see R+1 and R+2 spots. Place your tile on these and in your next turn you’ll get an additional one or two letter tiles in your rack. The crazy thing is that these bonus spots move around, so you never know from one turn to the next where they might show up!
Now, here’s where it gets multi-dimensional: you can place tiles on TOP of other tiles that have been previously played, up to three tiles deep. And, you get bonus points for doing so. Want to place a tile where there are already three tiles? Use one of your two “cherry bombs” to blast away all the tiles in one spot so you can put yours there.
Other features include an integrated dictionary. After you play a word, the definition will pop up. This is something you can disable, but personally I think it’s neat to finally find out what words like JO and XI mean, after using them for all those years in similar games. You also get a play-by-play history of each game, comprehensive statistics, and online leader boards.
Cheeky humor and retro graphics add to the fun. For example, tap “Boost Morale” for a message beginning with “You Rock”. It may be a warm and fuzzy life lesson, or simply a cheer: “Laugh. Love. And dance silly dances.” or “Don’t deny it. You are crazy smart.”
You don’t need to spend a dime to enjoy this game; I haven’t. However, if you want to customize your board and tiles with various themes, or even buy “cheats” like Slowed Time Super Power or purchase a vowel, you can do so in the app’s gift shop. Just be warned, you need to buy “tile cleaner” before you can buy any other upgrades in the app or even receive upgrades other players may gift to you. I wish they would just charge the buck up front rather than disguising their price as “tile cleaner”. If you don’t buy it, I guess the tiles will just get progressively dirtier. I can live with that as long as I can read them — mine are pretty grey but still legible.
Still, this a fun twist on the Scrabble-genre games. You have nothing to lose by trying it. Every word game fan needs to check out SpellStacker now!