“One Week With” is our weekly app review series. One of us plays around with an app for over a week and then writes a very personal review of the app. It's unlike other app reviews you'll find elsewhere because we often get addicted to the app before we review it. Sometimes, we forget we've got to review the app.
I am a fan of word games. And minimal design. Top it with some really unique gameplay – something that takes a different route from the usual rigmarole of two-player word games – and you get the whole idea of what Letterpress is.
I hear that the creator of Letterpress is Loren Brichter, some guy whose Tweetie app for the iPhone turned into the official Twitter app (which is another favorite app on my list). I haven't heard of him before this but from what I've heard, I gather that this man's brain must be a powerhouse of creativity.
Even at first glance, Letterpress looked unique. To begin with, it's super simple and minimal; there are no unnecessary colors, distractions, backgrounds and the usual stuff that bogs several other word games that I haven't downloaded. But that's not all.
Letterpress has a simple gameplay that's somewhat new in several aspects. The object of the game is to think up as many words as possible from a given board of letters; the more you think up, the better.
The way points are added is interesting and that's what makes the gameplay smart and sophisticated. You get points for every letter you use; letters you've used turn blue and letters your opponent has used turn red. If, in your turn, you use up a letter that's red, you get a point while one point is subtracted from your opponent's score. But then, if you use a letter that's a darker shade of red (a letter that is surrounded by other “red” tiles), you don't get a point, nor does your opponent lose one.
The strategy is simple, elegant but convincingly unique. It's a Game Center game, where your opponent is someone connected via Internet in the Game Center.
Unlike many other games, Letterpress doesn't come with scores of additional features. The free version of the game, the one I'm playing, lets you play two games at any given point of time. With a $0.99 in-app purchase, you get these options:
- View played words at any point of the game (currently, this feature is available only when the game's over)
- Play more than two games simultaneously
- Change the theme of the dashboard
Frankly, one week of the game and I'm on my way to be addicted to it.
What I really liked about the game was that it doesn't need me to focus only on the game. I can take breaks, come back and continue and then take a break again. The other thing I liked is that it's not just conjuring up words from the board; you have to think strategically to earn points while reducing your opponent's.
- Overall: 4.5/5
- Interface: 5/5
- Functionality: 4/5
- Features: 4.5/5
- Usability: 4.5/5