What would you expect from a creative genius such as Jon Hare? If you are unfamiliar with the name, cast your mind back 20 plus years to the dawn of the Commodore 64 and Amiga 500. Co-founder of the highly successful Sensible Software, with award winning games such as Sensible Soccer, Cannon Fodder and Mega lo Mania to name but a few. Sensible’s games redefined the term; Indy gaming. Very similar to the success of the Bitmap Brothers, Sensible’s roots lies within the UK and now 20 years on under Jon’s new development company Tower Studios (responsible for Speedball 2 Evolution and the super action gun busting game Shoot to Kill) and under license with AppyNation he brings us his first original game since the Sensible years with Word Explorer.
A simple yet original idea sees the gamer travelling around the world, un-jumbling words to learn more about the places you are visiting. The aim here is to travel the entire globe working your way through anagrams on a series of grids across vast amount of countries. Whilst it may seem easy at first, it ramps up very quickly and not only do you need to unscramble the letters in front of you but you will need to have a trivia head to answer the questions relating to the country you are in.
Along the way you will be collecting pictures, there are 9 in every pack and you will receive an award once the pack is complete, in addition you will have a very comprehensive album of some the most famous landmarks, animals and places around the world, all pics are in HD and high quality.
However you are not alone, the game allows for a number of hints, so if you are finding it increasingly difficult to unscramble and answer a question, the hint system will reveal letters in the correct order to give you a fighting chance of getting the word correct.
For example, I began my quest in the vast country of Canada, Starting my journey in the French speaking town of Quebec; To begin with I needed to solve general anagrams such as the following:
F W E L (Took Flight) and F W A K (Imperfection)
However, these are warm up anagrams until you get to the gold hexagons on the screen followed by a picture clue, this where your brain starts to work under pressure. The picture clues are typically cities, animals, rivers or sea life and they revolve around the country you are currently in.
If it all becomes too hard for you to decipher and you have used all your hints, then you have the unique option of asking a friend, by pressing this button, a text formulates on your phone with the question and all you need to do is type in who you want to help you. A very simple and ingenious way to share the game with your friends.
The next best thing after that is to submit guesses. Whenever you tap ‘ok’ the game lets you know which letters happen to be in the right places, and this is often sufficient to help you to the answer.
In addition, whilst playing you will sometimes catch a glimpse of a plane flying across your screen, by clicking on that plane, you can buy coins at a rate of 1,000 for 99c, 5,000 for $1.99, 10,000 for $4.99, or 25,000 for $9.99 to spend on cheats and other in-game items, such as fast tracking areas and flying to other countries.
An interesting Multiplayer option is also featured within the game, play against your friend or rivals as you compete in an overly-competitive interactive league. Who is smarter than you?
Jon describes the game as a “21st century crossword” however instead of blank boxes you actually have the letters to unscramble. Word Explorer is “without doubt the largest single player word game that has ever existed”.
The full game will contain 23,000 words across 250 levels across most countries around the world. This will keep you playing for many hours and will keep you coming back for more; I found it very hard to put down.
Overall a very enjoyable and challenging game, very well presented and it has a touch of the Jon Hare humour. Enjoy!!!
Word Explorer is available FREE on the iTunes App Store: It is also available on PC
To listen to our exclusive Podcast with Jon Hare please click here:
Watch the official trailer on YouTube:
About Tower Studios
Tower is owned and operated by Jon Hare, previously of Sensible Software. Hare has a strong games pedigree with 10 titles that have reached #1 over the last 25 years. Since last year, the company has been working quietly behind the scenes to secure deals with a number of license holders and game development companies.
AppyNation is a developer-led collaborative consortium of independent studios from around the UK who have come together with the backing of NESTA to offer an alternative to the traditional publisher model. AppyNation operates across all digital platforms. The collaboration between publisher and digital, social and independent UK developers AppyNation represents has been very positively received by the industry and has the support of NESTA, industry associations TIGA and UKIE and the UK Government.
About Vivid Games
Established in 2006, Vivid Games is one of the most technologically advanced independent development studios in Europe, and the biggest producer of mobile games in Poland. Passion and commitment for the task at hand, as well as striving for perfection in every field of activity, are the keystones of the Vivid’s philosophy. The company significantly contributes to the development of the video game industry worldwide via its offices in London and San Francisco.