Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey
From Bacon Bandit Games comes a charming new word game where you play a resourceful creature called Grimm. In Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey, free for iOS and Android, you've taken it upon yourself to clear all the dungeons of evil, not with a weapon, but with your words!... okay, a scythe is also used. Each stage is broken down into three parts, indicated by stars, the first of which will be granted when you kill all the monsters by spelling words, while the others are earned by completing different challenges once you've won a stage the first time. Tap the letters on the board in any order to make a word. Letters don't have to be next to each other, and there isn't a clock, so feel free to take your time. Longer words and words that include harder to use letters (indicated by the color of the dot on the tile) do more damage. The tiles will turn blue once you've spelled a valid word, and if you've made a mistake, just tap on your word to return tiles to the board. Once you're satisfied with your word, hit the green attack button to deal some damage. If you can't find a word on the board, hit the arrows on the left to mix things up, though this takes up a turn.
You can tap on enemies to see an amusing description as well as their stats. Aside from attacking you, enemies can affect the game board in various ways by changing the tiles. There are poison tiles that will harm you if you use them, or stone tiles, that you can't use at all, among many others. Affected tiles have a countdown in the corner, and once it reaches zero, the tiles go back to normal. Occasionally crystal tiles will appear to give you a bonus, such as a shield, if you use them. If you can't remember what all the different components do, just hit the question mark button, then tap the item in question for a reminder. As you progress the baddies start having peculiar traits... one I found particularly difficult was the enemy that only takes damage from words that begin with a vowel.
You'll earn gems by killing monsters and completing stages and quests as you go. Gems are used to purchase upgrades and potions in the shop. There are also books with special effects that you can carry with you and level up as well. While there are in-app purchases within the game, Grimm's Journey is perfectly playable without buying anything, though you might consider hitting the donate button if you like the game. There are a ton of levels to traverse, achievements to earn, and bosses to kill... enough to keep you busy for quite awhile. While at its core Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey is a simple word game that's easy to pick up, it goes on to show you that the pen and sword can work together to make a lot whole lot of fun.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 2. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.