Because we all need a new multiplayer addiction.
One of my favorite kinds of game on the iPhone is the asynchronous, turn based multiplayer title. Judging by their sales, the rest of the app store feels similarly. Games like Words With Friends, Draw Something, and Hero Academy take up all of those small moments in my life when I could otherwise be thinking about something meaningful.
Letterpress is another such game. It is a hybrid of Boggle and a tactical territory control board game. Players pick letters in rounds from a 5×5 grid. If I am the “blue” player, I pick a sequence of letters from anywhere on the board to spell a word. These tiles are now under my control, and turn blue. In the second player’s turn, they do the same, and any tiles they use to create a word will be converted from either neutral or blue to their color. The game ends when either the board has been used entirely, or when both players pass a turn.
Adding to the tactical feel of the game are “protected tiles.” If I am able to convert a tile, and all of the adjacent tiles, the central tile(s) will become protected. This doesn’t mean that the enemy cannot use the tile, but it does mean that it won’t be converted to their control on the same turn that they use it. Protected tiles, and the game ending condition push players into a vicious battle for control of the board. In the last few turns when only several difficult to use letters remain, the struggle converts into a tense game of chicken, in which neither player dares use just one of the letters because the remaining will surely be used to take the win.
Letterpress does a good job of prohibiting silly use of suffixes, as well.
Creating matches is handled via Gamecenter in Letterpress, and while it works well enough I wish there was a better way to initiate rematches following a round. A simple, “play again?” button would have done the trick, but players must instead dig back through their Gamecenter list to initiate play.
Letterpress is a freemium game, allowing players to try a limited amount of games with a single color palette before opting for a paid upgrade. I only played a single game before shelling out the cash for this one, though. For fans of multiplayer word games, it doesn’t get much better.
Letterpress is available for free as a Universal download.