Word Spin (iPhone) Review
An enjoyable little word game that even gives you points for some words that aren't even words...
Word Spin is the iPhone version of the home game of the same name (it's not really a board game because it has no board, and calling it an adult party game would bring other things to mind, so I'll just stick with home game). The idea behind the game is relatively simple - you have a number of wheels (technically decagons) with letters around the outside of each one. At the beginning of a round, three to seven of these wheels can be placed side-by-side in any order and rotated to align their letters in any way that you choose. You'll need to spend a little time optimizing the wheel arrangement, because once the round begins the wheels are locked into place. During the round you will need to find words formed by the letters along the matching edges of the wheels by tapping the letters in succession and double-tapping the final letter. Each letter is assigned a point value ala Scrabble, and the score for the word is the sum of the points for each letter in the word. Spell a word that uses letters from every wheel and you'll be awarded with a double score. Words within words count for score as well, so if you had S-I-N-G aligned along an edge, you could score with in, sin, and sing. Attempt to score with a word that doesn't exist and you'll be penalized by losing the points associated with the selected letters, so guessing comes with a price. Play proceeds through five rounds, starting with three wheels and adding a wheel in each round. At the end of the game you're shown your score and optionally all of the words that you missed, and if you want you can compare your score to the global leaderboards and upload yours if it is good enough.
If you enjoy word-based puzzles, you'll like Word Spin and find that it's one of those games that can eat up a lot more time than you realize while you're playing. You could spend a lot of time simply trying to align the wheels for maximum scoring potential before each round. On the downside, the game's dictionary is pretty accommodating and Scrabble players will be aghast to learn that you can score with NI (atomic symbol for nickel), NE (not only a proper name, but an abbreviation to boot!), and Ole (foreign word!). Spend some time in the practice mode and you'll get a feel for which abbreviations and other short pseudo-words are acceptable by the game, although some words that the game tells you that you've missed don't look to be real words at all.
If you have a friend with the game there's a challenge mode in which you can select the game settings and generate a code to email to that friend. The friend can then input the code, and you'll both play the exact same version of the game so that you can compare your scores on a truly equal footing.
Word Spin makes for a great portable diversion for those with a fondness for word puzzles. However, it loses points for a dictionary that's far too lenient and perhaps a little bit confused.
Final Rating: 76%
Transmitted: 3/3/2015 9:28:13 AM