Ngmoco’s new high-energy word game, WordFu has delivered it’s entry into the wide world of word games. Of course it also delivers a high level of polish, and a lot of features other word games don’t have. But should you buy it?
When you start a game you get 9 word dice to shake around. You can shake your phone to move all the dice, or use your finger to move specific ones. After 20 seconds your letter choices are locked in and it’s time to play! You are now given a limited time to form words. When you have a word made you can shake the phone, or tap on the word to submit. If you submit a duplicate or a word that does not exist you will be penalized some time. If you can manager to get enough points in the round time you will get power-ups that can allow you to extend the round time, freeze time, move some dice, and more.
Depending on how you do you can unlock different belts, and put your name on the high score list (local not a global listing). WordFu will also record your longest word and highest score (for 1p & 2p modes). You can play versus through wifi, but I don’t think many will be able to use this feature. They really should have allowed people to do vs. play online.
The presentation and polish on this game is excellent. The sounds, graphics, animations and everything really add to a very good experience from the moment you fire up the game. I love the quick paced animation and oriental (do we say oriental anymore?) music. The Kung Fu sounds are awesome and add a lot of energy and fun to the game.
The graphics are good, what you would expect from ngmoco, but they can get a little boring. There is not a lot of contrast between the dice and background so it can get a bit boring. I really wish they had different backgrounds, and more tiles to unlock. The fact that you are stuck with the default ones is less than what I would expect from ngmoco.
WordFu uses the Mach Dice engine. This engine moves the dice really well, but what stands out is the 3D effect. If you move the phone around the dice move as if your changing your perspective on them. so if you tilt the phone left, you can see more of the right side of the dice. It’s a cool effect, but I’m not sure it adds anything to the gameplay. It feels more gimmicky than anything.
One of the things that makes WordFu unique is the ability to use letters more than once. So if you were to spell “FREEZE” for example, you only need one “E” die because you can use it over and over again. I wouldn’t call this a bad feature, but just something that makes the gameplay different from other word games. Either you love this, or your a hard-core word gamer and you feel like it’s cheating.
Presentation & Graphics
The graphics are excellent, but there is little contrast and no new dice, so it can get a little boring.
The sound is well suited for the game. Extra points for the awesome Kung-Fu action sounds, minus points for not letting my play my own music.
Gameplay is good, not great.
This game has a good life for being a word game, minus points for no diffrenty backrounds or dice. Only unlockables are belts.
WordFu is a fun and solid title. You are getting a good value for the price.