Have you ever been to one of those massive chess tournaments? We're talking massive--around 200 people or so, divided up into 100 tables and duking each other out. Well take that concept but swap out those 200 people with the entire internet. Then make all of those users play each other in a single massive game at the same time. Now apply that scale to a game like WordSearch. What do you get? A word tournament, or more specifically, Wordament.
Here's how it works: you start up Wordament and the first thing it will ask you to do before playing is to setup a screen name. You register a screen name you like, it's tied to your phone, and you're all set to go. No passwords, no email validations -- setup is probably the easiest part of the game. Then you swipe 'Play' and you're on your way to do that. Each game of Wordament takes place at the exact same time worldwide for every user for a duration of two minutes and then about 40 seconds in between to see high scores and words.
The core gameplay is already quite engaging but adding the internet dynamic to it is what really distinguishes WordamentSo how do you actually play? Well you're given a game square board of sixteen randomized letters, arranged in a 4x4 grid. Each letter on the grid is assigned a point value and you must find words consisting of three letters or more. Then you'll receive points for finding words, and the points will vary depending on the individual point value of each letter used in the word. The objective of the game is to get the most points within the 2-minute limit of each game. We see gaining points from words as two approaches so far: you can either quickly spot all of the simple three or four letter words as you possibly can, or you can take your time and try to find the 'obscure' words that are ultimately worth more points per word. Or you can take the third strategy which is to find as many short words as possible but also be watchful for larger obscure words.
As you can tell, the core gameplay is already quite engaging but adding the internet dynamic to it is what really distinguishes Wordament from other word find games. Just the fact that you know you're playing against around 200 or so players from across the globe is an amazing thought. What's more is that the same exact 4x4 game board is given to each player, yet as you can tell the different words to be found and strategies to be used is so numerous that everyone can find different words from one another from the same exact set of letters. Plus knowing that you're competing on a global leaderboard and the limit of 2 minutes means that everyone is on an equal footing and that you do have a chance for your 15 seconds of fame if you rank high on the list after a good game.
However, sometimes that excellent web aspect of the game can backfire.However, sometimes that excellent web aspect of the game can backfire. Wordament obviously relies on an internet connection in order to play which can create a few problems on smartphones. While the developers have certainly optimized the game's performance over a 3G connection, we still find that our experience can vary sporadically depending on our location. Usually the experience deteriorates when we have one bar of cellular data, but there have been occasions where we've had a full five bars of 3G and yet the game performed oddly slow and load times increased significantly. However you could easily blame that on your carriers' poor 3G service in any area. The real problem we ran into was when we had a weak Wi-Fi signal; the game became nearly unplayable with touches not being registered, words taking several seconds to confirm points as our time limit depreciated without stopping, and results and leaderboards sometimes completely failing to load. Clearly the developers haven't optimized the game to respond to weaker wireless internet connections in the same way they have for cell data. Wordament is seemingly well optimized for 3G, but the poor performance on weak Wi-Fi signals is somewhat inexcusable, especially when an internet connection is required in order to play.
Overall we found Wordament to be an extremely addicting and rewarding experience. The two minute length of each game is the perfect amount to hook you in for the dreaded 'just one more game', and the competitive nature of a worldwide tournament with rankings really adds to that. Plus the game is fast and really responsive, two things required if you want to get multiplayer right gaming on such a large scale. However the spotty optimization for weak Wi-Fi signals is the one truly negative issue working against the game's success. Besides that, though, Wordament is a truly unique experience, one that is extremely addictive and even more rewarding. For that, we couldn't recommend it enough.
You vs. the Internet