W.E.L.D.E.R. by Ayopa Games LLC icon

W.E.L.D.E.R. ($1.99) by Ayopa Games LLC is a new app that is sure to excite word gamers everywhere. W.E.L.D.E.R. is universal, so you can play it on any of your iDevices running iOS 3.0 or later. Your games are stored in iCloud, so you can start a game on one iDevice, pick up another, and continue your game.

W.E.L.D.E.R. by Ayopa Games LLC screenshot

It reminds me a bit of Abca, with its industrial-style graphics and fun challenging gameplay, but W.E.L.D.E.R. is a bit different. Let’s get this out of the way — the name is a bit silly. It stands for Word Examination Laboratory for Dynamic Extraction and Reassessment. Groan. But don’t let that fool you. This is a sophisticated word game for serious word puzzle fans. Game Center integration adds to the fun.

Your goal is simply to form words of four letters or more by swapping tiles. Swap left/right, up/down, or diagonally. As soon as a word is formed, those tiles will be removed from the board, your points will be awarded, and more tiles will come down to fill in the spaces. You get 25 swaps to start, and once you use them up, the game is over. Score 250 points, and you’ll earn five more basic swaps. As you progress in the game, you can earn Reverse, Group, and Jump Swaps.

The light colored Tier 1 tiles are vowels, each worth one point. The medium colored Tier 2 tiles are commonly used consonants like D, N, and S. They are each worth 2 points. Tier 3 tiles, dark grey, are the slightly less common consonants, like M, P, and H. The maroon Tier 4 tiles are the least used consonants like X, Z, and J — these are worth 8 points each.

You’ll also see blank wooden tiles. You can stamp these with any letter you like, at a cost of one “swap”. The flame-red Hot Tiles can be used in a word, but not swapped. Earn an extra 10 points for using these. The rusty-looking Broken Tiles cannot be swapped either, and must be cleared by being used in a word. And finally, look for gold, diamond-encrusted, and platinum Multiplier Tiles. These will double, triple, and quadruple your word score, respectively.

Look up any word you form in the iOS dictionary with just a tap. Not only will you learn something, but you’ll earn an achievement the first time you do so. Share the words you form on Facebook and Twitter if you like.

The bottom line: there is plenty in this high quality, universal, letter-swapping word game to keep you coming back for more.