Wordbase ~ Strategic Word Game (Free) by Aller International is a new kind of strategic word game. If you’re a fan of non-traditional word games, such as Letterpress, then you are going to enjoy Wordbase.
Word games are one of my many iOS gaming weaknesses — I love them. Even though I may not always be the best out there, I still enjoy the challenge, and it’s always a great way to build up my vocabulary. It’s been a while since I’ve played a good word game, so I was eager to give Wordbase a try when I first heard about it from Robocat. The guys behind Haze and Thermo coming up with a word game? How could one not get excited.
The visuals in Wordbase are flat, so it fits in well with the aesthetics of iOS 7, just as Letterpress did. It also has a good amount of light and dark elements, with enough color to make it pop on your screen. It’s fairly intuitive to navigate around as well, and once you do, you’ll see gorgeous, smooth transition visuals that show the amount of care the developers put into crafting this game. There isn’t any music, but there are some pleasant sounds, though these can all be turned off.
So what makes Wordbase different? This isn’t another Scrabble clone, that’s for sure. The game consists of a rather large grid of letter tiles, and each player will have a “base,” which is one row on either the top or bottom of the board. You can choose to use your Facebook account to play with friends, or just find random strangers for your opponents.
The base will be indicated by the player color, and the objective is to, of course, capture the opponent’s base. This is done by creating words that start with letters that are in your base — unlike Letterpress, the letters you choose need to be adjacent to each other and connect, but you can zig zag, go diagonally, vertically, or side-to-side. These letters become part of your trail, and show your progress towards the opponent’s base. If you spell a word with one letter that is in their base row, you’ll win.
As the game goes on, it gets much more difficult than you’d expect. The opponent can cut off your word branches by spelling words that use letters that you’ve claimed, so you will need to think about your word placement carefully as you go. It’s a word game mixed with a bit of chess and checkers, basically, and that’s a good thing.
To make things even more exciting, there are sometimes power-ups on the board (indicated by black tiles), and if you can create a word with these letters, it may help swing the game in your favor by gaining more letters to your pool.
Even though the game may look very similar to Letterpress, it is actually very different. The goal of Letterpress was to claim the entire board, while Wordbase has you going specifically for the opponent’s base, which is one row. They may seem akin, but once you get started with Wordbase, you will understand that it’s much more strategic. If you don’t take the time to see what the opponent can do with their letter pool, or make words that help you gain footing on the grid, then that will eventually lead to you losing, unless you can pull off a miracle of some kind.
I’ve got to admit that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Wordbase so far. I’m glad that it’s not just another Scrabble clone, nor is it a ripoff of other unique word games like Letterpress. It is a brand new twist on strategic word games, and it does it in a gorgeous way that will really make you think and build your vocabulary. I’ve been addicted to it for the past few days, even though I’m still not great (practice makes perfect), and if you’re a word game fan, you need to pick this one up.
Wordbase is available for your iPhone for free in the App Store. The initial download is free and allows you to play up to two games at once. You can upgrade to the premium version for $2.99 for unlimited games.