Spell Collapse Review
Addictive and challenging. The principle to look for group of linked letters to create words is really excellent and is what makes the game that much interesting.
A bit hard to play. Would deserve an easier level to start with.
Spell Collapse Review
Games with Words
What on earth can one still invent to play with words? Isn’t everything already done? I guess not. And our fascination for words and language is increasing our creativity all the time. It is an endless process.
So, what can Glenn Nissen have invented with words, that is worth spending our time on? What is Spell Collapse about? More importantly: is it fun and addictive?
What is Spell Collapse?
Spell Collapse is presenting to the player a whole bunch of letters and the player needs to make words with them. The principle is dead simple. What is less simple though is the implementation of this principle. Indeed, to make the game interesting, one needs to add some difficulty and, in this case, some bit of strategy. This is precisely what Spell Collapse is doing. Let’s have a closer look!…
As you can see on the screenshots, a good half of your screen is filled with letters at the start of the game. Your brain immediately starts to look for words. This is the job of the brain: recognizing patterns! And words are just a special kind of patterns in life; but that is another topic.
So, your brain is starting the hunt and is delighted to recognize its first 3 letters word. You select the letters. The link becomes green. You tap it again and here you go, you have scored your first word.
The problem comes after you have recognized your 20th 3 letters word. First of all, it is disappointing, second it scores peanuts and third after each word collapsed you get a whole row of new letters. This is filling your board pretty fast and makes you loose miserably.
So, you make the decision to not leave the screen until you have found a real proper word of at least 5 letters. The thing is, it is pretty hard. But, after much effort and insistence, you find one. You select the letters, they become green, …and the whole area becomes green. Ahah!.. So, there is more to this game than just picking short words? You tap the green zone and bam!, it frees a whole bunch of letters, making you breath again while scoring decently.
In fact, Spell Collapse contains just enough rules and possibilities to make you stick to your screen for a while without realizing. The magic comes from the hexagonal shape of the letters. They each connect to 6 other letters, making the possibilities quite huge. It is also possible to switch letters’ places. And that, in my opinion is the real great move from Glenn Nissen. As soon as you understand the consequences of this little switch action, you then realize how what was looking at first glance like a tiresome search for luck becomes an exciting hunt for hidden patters, i.e. “words”. And our brains love that kind of challenge!!
Beyond these basic rules, the game contains some other interesting elements like letters that need to be used more than once before collapsing or other powers that you can earn on the way.
In fact, Spell Collapse contains just enough rules and possibilities to make you stick to your screen for a while without realizing. The magic comes from the hexagonal shape of the letters. They each connect to 6 other letters, making the possibilities quite huge. It is also possible to switch letters’ places. And that, in my opinion is the real great move from Glenn Nissen.
The game is nice to the eyes. There is not much to say about it as it all fits into one screen. This is not an action game anyway and we do not want to be distracted by any fancy animation or even music. I guess the design is not much in line with the new iOS 7 slick design but this is definitely not a problem.
Learning the rules is quite easy. I did not use the tutorial for a start and could play with it immediately. But it is only after running the tutorial that I could start to have fun. So, I strongly suggest doing it. It takes a minute or so but it is worth it.
Is the game easy to play? I would not say so. So far I only played with the easy level, but English is not my primary language either. With the current settings, I would say that it takes a little while to really enjoy the game. One should not give-up too fast. My score drastically improved game after game. The potential for difficulty seem to be really enough to me, maybe I would suggest the addition of a slightly easier level. The words I found were in many case quite rare. It pleased me to realize I knew them, though.
I like words and I like puzzles. But when I started to play with Spell Collapse, I was quite doubtful about it. I was wrong. It is only when I realized that my family was talking to me without me hearing, that I understood I was hooked. And the nice thing is: you can say you are playing a “word game”. It sounds good!
I like the fact that you can be immersed in the problem to solve, and if you are not on the time version, you can just leave it and come back later. It is not a stressful game but a satisfying one. It is addictive with time, no question about it.
Glenn Nissen has created a good game with Spell Collapse. The author has managed to reinvent the words game genre enough to be worth a shot. It is well balanced between complexity and simple rules. The player dives into the game without realizing. It is addictive and ultimately “fun”. The possibility to reorder the linked letters to create a word is actually the door to greatness and leaves no room for being satisfied with a mediocre score, hence the addiction.
Check Glenn Nissen’s Interview in our What’s in an App? column.