TypeShift (Free) by Zach Gage is a modernized word puzzle game that will keep your brain stimulated for quite some time. If you enjoyed unique word games like Letterpress and Alpha Omega, then you will like what TypeShift has in store.
As a writer, I have a thing for words, so it should come as a surprise to no one that I enjoy my fair share of word games, especially on iOS. While I’m not as good as other people I know, I find word games to be fun, challenging, and they’re great at stimulating my mind and expanding my vocabulary. I’ve gone through a good amount of these puzzles while at AppAdvice, but I can’t help it — I’m always on the lookout for exciting new ones that pop up. So when I got the news of TypeShift, the latest game from Zach Gage, who made Spelltower (another excellent word game), Ridiculous Fishing, and Sage Solitaire, I knew that it was something I had to try out. And without a doubt in my mind, TypeShift is another great title from Gage that won’t disappoint.
TypeShift features a super minimal aesthetic that will appeal to anyone who craves simplicity. Since this is a word game, there isn’t too much in terms of graphics, but the sans serif typeface used for the puzzles is rather bold and makes an impact while being easily legible. There are simple icons that should be easily recognizable for daily completed puzzles and the section of your favorite words, which is handy for referring back to at a later point. The default color palette is nice, as it features a dark blue background with a nice range of soft pastels to richer tones. TypeShift has smooth and fluid animations, and there is plenty of haptic feedback if you are playing on an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. There are even soothing click noises as you slide the columns of tiles, which is oddly satisfying.
If you prefer something different, you can unlock all of the color themes in the game by making any in-app purchase, which also gets rid of ads and lets you view your statistics. I opted for the “Chocolate” puzzle pack to unlock the extras, and the additional color themes are well done and make the game stand out more. Plus, there’s a handful of different options available, so there will be a theme for everyone. Just like his other games, Gage has done a great job with the look and feel of TypeShift.
Like other word games, TypeShift is level-based, with hundreds of puzzles spread out across a myriad of “packs,” which are essentially chapters with tasty names. With the initial free download, players will find over 100 puzzles already available from the get-go. On top of that, there will be daily puzzles each day, and these are a great way to compete for the fastest times across the globe if you’re the competitive type. However, if all of that is not enough, you can purchase additional puzzle packs at about $0.99 to $1.99 a pop, or go for the Starter Bundle that includes three packs at a discount rate. As I mentioned, any in-app purchase gets rid of the ads and grants you access to the color themes and statistics. Each pack tells you the type of puzzles it contains, whether they’re quick or require a bit more thinking, small, medium, or large, and whether they have clues or not (think crosswords). Regardless, the goal in TypeShift is simple enough: spell out words in the center row until you’ve used all of the letters at least once.
The control scheme in TypeShift is easy and intuitive. Each puzzle features several rows and columns of letter tiles. However, the only way to spell something out is if it is done in the center row, which is highlighted and stands out from the rest. To move letters, you’ll have to slide a column vertically with your finger, similar to a padlock dial. When you spell out a proper word, the letters will change color and bounce, which is a nice and subtle indication that you’re making progress. Repeat this process until you find all of the words and use up all of the letter tiles. If you’re curious about your progress on a puzzle, just check the upper right corner, where you can see a percentage of how complete it is.
If you get stuck, the game does have a hint system, but you only have a few free ones to start out with. When you’re out of hints, you’ll have to buy more through in-app purchases. Otherwise, another option to consider is to ask your friends through the iOS Share Sheet. A lot of the puzzles can be solved by trial-and-error though, so don’t worry if you get stuck — just give it a few moments and come back to it. At least that worked for me.
As mentioned earlier, TypeShift is an anagram-type of word game with a dash of word search thrown into the mix. However, some puzzle packs that you can purchase are “Clue” puzzles, which means that there are short clues to the words that you can find in a puzzle, similar to a crossword. These offer a nice variety to the typical puzzle that you find in this game, and make it less random when it comes to the words that are hidden in the level.
As a fan of word games, I’ve found TypeShift to be a delightful gem among the recent flood of big indie game titles on the App Store. The visuals are simple and clean, the sound effects are fun to hear, the haptic feedback is nice, and the game mechanic is different enough to stand out among the word game market. I just wish that the game had a “complete bundle” type of in-app purchase to get everything (including future premium packs) for a set price, rather than individually. Plus, the amount of ads that are included prior to making a purchase was a tad too frequent for me. I did notice that sometimes solving a puzzle through trial-and-error made me spell out words that I never heard of before, so there are definitely some obscure terms in TypeShift.
I still recommend giving TypeShift a try if you’re in the mood for some stimulating word puzzles and want something that is distinctive. TypeShift is available on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for free with in-app purchases.