Microsoft last night released Wordament, a title first seen on the Xbox platform, for iOS devices. Wordament, as the name implies, is a fairly simple word game. When you enter the app, you are given a board of letters. You are then timed, and the goal is to create as many words as possible – however, the words have to be connected, as the entire game revolves around swiping from tile to tile to select the letter pieces. At the end of the time, your results are then compared to every other person playing at that specific time frame and displayed on global leaderboards.
The app itself is quite Metro-y, though it looks somewhat clunky. Parts of the app perform slowly, which is strange given Microsoft’s past efforts and the fluidity at which they run on Apple’s mobile platform. Still, hopefully those issues will be ironed out in a future update. However, the overall design almost reminds me a cheap, knock-off version of Letterpress, Loren Brichter’s popular word game for iOS. Of course, both employ the use of tiles and animations, but Brichter’s implementation is both the original and the superior (though Brichter did take many design cues from Windows Phone and its Metro UI).
The game itself, as anyone who has played it on the Xbox, is quite entertaining. Performance issues of the app aside, the competitive aspects are a refreshing realization, since most iOS apps tend to focus on single player.
This is where Xbox Live comes in. When the app is first opened, the player is prompted for an Xbox Live sign-in. If, like me, you don’t actually have one, you can always tap and sign in as a guest without being bothered to create an Xbox Live account. However, for those that do have an Xbox Live account and are tied in to Microsoft’s entertainment network, achievements and scores made in the mobile version of Wordament will carry over and by pushed back to the console.
Microsoft has been expanding its entertainment presence to iOS for some time, and this game making its debut represents a culmination of some magnitude. It is unclear if this is simply an experiment, or was planned to be the first title with Xbox Live to come to iOS. With most of Microsoft’s mobile entertainment advances going to both Windows RT and Windows Phone, it’s refreshing to see them take the time to port a decent game to Apple’s ecosystem.
Wordament is available on the App Store for free.