Games 2/21/11 (Part One): Word Trick

Word Trick
For: iPhone/iPod Touch
From: Outplay Entertainment
iTunes Store Rating: 4+
Price: Free

At first (and maybe second) glance, “Word Trick” looks like a shameless knockoff of “Words With Friends.” It’s Scrabble, it lets you play multiple games at once with the same turn-based multiplayer system, and it interfaces with Facebook to allow cross-platform play between Facebook and iOS players. (A Facebook account is, unfortunately, required to play the game — a disappointment considering “Trick” is otherwise integrated with iOS Game Center.) With all that said, if you like “Friends” but have grown exhausted with the glut of friends playing two-letter words that clot the board and award cheap points, “Trick’s” lone innovation may be all the originality you need. Scattered amongst the usual letter tiles are special green tiles. Build a word with three or more consecutive green tiles, and your reward is a double-, triple- or quadruple-word score on top of whatever score multipliers you cover on the board. In other words, large, board-opening words are officially back in fashion. If only these games could auto-detect rampant cheating, it’d be perfect. If you’re fond of rivalries and stats, “Trick” outdoes “WWF” in another respect with a some stat-tracking features that (among other stats) break down your win/loss records against each person you play. Achievement hunters also get a large stash of Game Center achievements. And if you have freemium and in-app purchase fatigue, you’ll be happy to know the price for “Trick” being free — an easily-dismissed ad after each turn played — is pretty harmless.