Swamp Talk (Free) by Tertl is an innovative word game for the iPad and iPhone.
The app features a simple to understand concept that’s challenging to master, making it ideal for all kinds of players. Swamp Talk’s ability to track your progress and reveal new game modes on the fly creates a unique setting. An environment where the player is rewarded for their skill and effort alone, rather than their determination to finish a puzzle or beat a difficult boss.
Swamp Talk is similar to other word games like "Scrabble" or "Words With Friends," but it also bears a lot of resemblance to time-based puzzlers like "Tetris."
Rather than giving players a list of letters to work with, the app instead adds pieces one at a time. Players must arrange each given letter along a space in the middle of the screen. When a word has been spelled, the player swipes a finger along its length, knocking out that combination and earning a point value equal to the complexity of the word.
Obviously, this keeps Swamp Talk in the same tradition as other classic spelling games for the iPhone and iPad. But if the middle space fills up, words begin to fall of the side, wasting both points and opportunity alike. In this sense, the app has similarities to brick breaking apps like "Tetris," or even "Bejeweled."
Swamp Talk also comes with two different game modes: Survival and 100 Letters. Survival has the player spelling words in an attempt to prevent the center zone from filling up. In 100 Letters mode, the user is instead given exactly 100 letters to score from, and the game ends when all possible combinations have been exhausted.
The app also lets players create their own game scenarios, which I found engaging. Users can specify the letter length of the middle space, as well as the rate of letter introduction, the number of letters that can be dropped, and the overall time limit of the game. This opens the doors for replay value.
The game concept itself is also quite fun, relying on the player’s own ability to produce lengthy combinations. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Swamp Talk rewards players with unlockable game modes for scoring well. It adds an extra incentive to keep playing, and to do better in the next round.
However, I would have liked to see online leader boards via Game Center, or OpenFeint, as well as universal achievements. Swamp Talk would be wonderfully compatible with both services, and it’s a shame the app remains offline in its current state.
Swamp Talk is free in the App Store for a limited time only, making it a must-have application for fans of word games on the iPhone. It’s no "Scrabble," but then again, that’s really what we love about the app. Give Swamp Talk a go, and don’t forget to have a dictionary nearby.