Letter Rip for Android an addictive word game

by Caitlin M. Foyt

It's hard to go wrong with a game that has a punny name. Letter Rip for your Android phone is a game that will attract the likes of those who enjoy all those Scrabble word-tile reminiscent games that seem to dominate the marketplace. But, Letter Rip isn't your typical wordplay game.

It's divided into two phases. When you start the first phase, your board is completely empty. Every few seconds, a new letter tile will pop up. The object of this portion of the game is to create as many words as possible, three letters are more, before the screen fills with tiles. You have to be quick because as time passes, the letters will start to appear at a much quicker rate.

Phase two begins after your board has filled. To clear it out, find the three-letter words that you didn't see before, when you were rushing in phase one. Try to get rid of all of your letters by turning every single one into a word.

There are a handful of extra tiles lined across the top of the screen to help if you get stuck. Because there are only a few of these, you must use them wisely.

The directions weren't very clear, so it took me a moment to figure out how to get the game to acknowledge that I had created a word. After I had lost valuable time, I realized you have to highlight your word by tapping and dragging your finger across the top of the word. Once a valid word is created, the tiles will disappear.

Part of what makes this game so challenging is that for your word to be valid, your words have to be arranged in a sensical order. The physics of the game only allows you to move a single letter at a time, and other tiles are treated as solid objects. Because new tiles appear all the time, if you're not careful, you can become blocked in a corner. Your words don't always have to be arranged in a perfectly straight line, but the letters must all be near each other and read chronologically from first letter to last.

This game can quickly become frustrating. Tiles appear out of nowhere, and block your path, and you realize you have five "L"s and no vowels. Somehow, this challenge is what makes the game addicting.

Letter Rip's design isn't anything special. In fact, it's actually very plain and kind of ugly. But, this is made up for in customization options. Players can change the size of the game board, the game speed, the color of the tiles, the minimum word length, whether or not you're right- or left-handed, and you can even play with sound effects.

My key complaint with this app is the fact that it has a limited vocabulary. For instance, when I typed in the word "swelter", the game treated it as though it wasn't a valid word. This made gameplay a bit more difficult because I knew that at any given time, even if my word was a real word, there was a chance it wouldn't be accepted.