Entry level users will find it difficult to simply find words they can play, while more advanced users will quickly discover that finding words is not good enough to overcome the opponent and that strategy and forward thinking are required to succeed.
The game is played on various size honeycomb like boards with hexagon tiles, each of which contains a letter. The users are expected to claim and color tiles in their color by selecting one or more adjacent tiles.
The objective of the game is to capture more tiles than your opponent and the winner, obviously, is the one who captured more tiles. There are some simple rules, which boil down to these: (a) to color more than one tile at a time they must form a valid word in the order they were selected, and (b) you cannot start a word with a tile which has already been taken by your opponent, but you can recapture your opponent’s tiles if you manage to include them in a valid word.
The boards appear to be randomly generated every time so every game is a new game. The hexagon tiles could be a challenge for some at first. The words are there to play, but it is really hard to find them; it is especially important to find and play longer words, which earns you the right to swap letters between tiles.
Amazingly it is a lot easier to find a four-letter word than anything longer and unfortunately you earn swap rights only with five or longer words. A nice touch is the ability to look up words as you play them by double tapping or long-pressing on the word in the upper part of the screen. And if you are playing in language, which is not your default language – there is a translate option too. Unfortunately the game is using Wiktionary, which does not have definitions for all words.
Once you open the application, an anonymous account is created for you automatically. You can start playing immediately, even without an internet connection (if you were to chose solo mode). If you like it you can always go to the Settings screen and change you name, pick an avatar or logon with Facebook and use your Facebook picture for avatar.
When you start a game with a random player you get to play the first move but this does not mean someone will pick your game immediately. You might be lucky and join a game that someone else has already started. Unfortunately the Wordy Bee is a new game and there are not that many users at this point so depending on your choice of language and difficulty level it may take time for a player to join your invite. You can always start a solo game against the Wordy Bee while waiting. If you decide to do this – make sure you set the Wordy Bee difficulty level appropriately. I personally find Advanced manageable and Expert impossible to play against.
The app is easy to use and the built-in help screens cover many of its features. There are number of ‘hidden’ features, which are triggered by a long press on a tile, or user name but I find them very logical.
One thing I do not like is the zoom feature. You can zoom in and out with a gesture or double tap on the board but there is no custom zoom. This does not impact the play but I would have liked it better if there was support for custom zoom scale. I have tried the game on a few devices and it works reasonably well on all of them except for two things. Solo games started on one device are not transferred to the other devices, which may come unexpected. The other issue is that the play on slower devices is a little weird – completely usable but there could be some latency between a tap and a response.
No ads in the game so it will not bother you will pop-ups but there are some in-app purchases, which enable features that would give you an extra edge over your opponents. All of those features are available to try for free at first, which is really nice – you can see what you will be spending money on before you actually do it. All in all Wordy Bee is an addictive and entertaining game, which is completely worth your time if you like word games.