AbraWORDabrA ($0.99) by Total Arkade Software Pty Ltd is a fun word game that is suitable for both kids and adults.
There is a magician named Marvo, and he has transformed everyone at a magic show into letter-carrying blocks — oh, the humanity! Because each block represents a person, you can be sure that each block has its own unique traits and personalities. In fact, it’s kind of cute.
This game is a word game that is probably different from what you’re used to. It’s not a Scrabble or Boggle clone — in fact, it has four unique game modes: Mizz Spell, Fill the Gap, U Genius, and Float On. The first three have the same gameplay, while Float On is completely different.
Each mode will take you through a painfully slow and annoying tutorial (basically level one), with no option to skip the first view. There isn’t even a way to fast forward through the tutorial, so you’ll have to sit through it all. This is one of my biggest gripes with the game, and I hope to see it fixed in the future.
The Mizz Spell mode will feature a word at the top of each level that is spelled incorrectly. You will have to navigate the blocks through several wooden floors of a building to reach the magic book at the bottom. Once you obtain the letters in the book (up to four can be in the book at once), you will have to drag the correct letters up to the misspelled word to correct it.
Fill the Gap is similar to Mizz Spell, except that it is missing letters in the word, rather than having the incorrect letters. I did have a problem with this mode — I could not get past the tutorial since it glitched up on me. And since the tutorial is the first level, I could not progress. However, it doesn’t look much different from Mizz Spell.
However, the level isn’t complete just because you get the word — you’ll have to reach the target score to progress forward. Getting the blocks to the book will obtain points for you, and there are even “score” power-ups that you can tap on to collect more points. Stacking blocks on top of each other will snag more points. Other power-ups will help you get to your goal faster and before time runs out, such as adding more time or speeding up the blocks.
The U Genius mode is probably the best mode so far. You can freely create your own words in this mode — up to three words at a time. You’ll also get some secret messages if you try and submit a rude word or enter a name of a member on the development team.
Float On is an entirely different mode that has more of the “arcade game” feeling to it than the rest of the modes. You’ll have a balloon to represent each letter of a word, and these will float up on the screen at variable speeds. You’ll have to tilt the device to move the balloon left and right to reach the book at the top of the screen. Of course, there are obstacles that will try and prevent you from reaching that goal, such as needles, caterpillars, and mini Marvos on pogo sticks.
Every game mode is timed — if you do not complete the word or reach the point goal, then it is game over. You can choose to continue, but it will use up a credit (you obtain credits the more you play).
In the beginning, you will only start out with a few characters, but you will unlock more as you get through levels. Additionally, every few levels will unlock a password that you can use on this site to get more animations and comics. Pretty cool incentive, I'd say. You can even access the intro comic and find out why Marvo turned these people into blocks by tapping on the comic under the table on the main screen of the game. Or, if you like to see the unique characters, tap on the magician's hat five times to get a dancing block.
There is Game Center integration for leaderboards and 26 achievements. If that’s not enough replay value for you, the developers are already working on additional content for future updates, so there will be continued support in the coming months.
The game is fun for both adults and kids (or even both, together), but I seriously hope that the tutorials get improved so that you can either skip them entirely or at least speed them up, since I think they are too long currently. The music is alright after a few minutes, but I ended up turning it off after a few games. Graphics seem a bit fuzzy on my iPhone 4S, so I hope to see full Retina graphics in the future. The critical glitch in the tutorial of Fill the Gap also needs to be fixed.
It’s a decent game for a 1.0, but it can still use some more polish.
If you're unsure of dropping the dollar for this game, you can try the Lite version in the App Store. It has 12 levels from three of the game modes in the paid version.