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Letterpress is an excellent iOS word game

Lex Friedman | Oct. 25, 2012
Loren Brichter created Tweetie, the incredible iPhone app that eventually became the official Twitter app. He invented pull-to-refresh. And if you had asked me what kind of app he might release as his long-awaited follow-up to Tweetie, boy, I never would have guessed. Now I know the answer, and I'm as pleased with the result as I am surprised by it: It's Letterpress, a word game with a healthy serving of strategy to go along with it. It works on the iPhone and the iPad, and it's awesome.

Nice touches abound: the cute sounds that accompany each gameplay move, the bubbles that indicate what word your opponent just played, and--my personal favorite--the brilliant thumbnails that accompany each game in your game list: Each is a stripped-down white, pink, and blue square that indicates the current state of the board for that game.

There's room for improvement. I'd love the option to chat with my opponent; shunting trash-talk to a Messages back channel seems like an unnecessary extra step. And--though I recognize space becomes a serious constraint here--I'd love for Letterpress to provide some indication that I'm attempting to form an already-played word; in games that stretch on for several days, it's easy to forget you're building a word that's already been played, and annoying to tap to the screen that lists all those past turns.

Actually, you can only see that screen of past words at all if you pony up $1. Letterpress itself is free; a $1 in-app purchase unlocks that option, along with other color themes and the ability to play more than two games at once. You'll want to spend that extra buck.

My few quibbles are minor. The truth is, none of my suggestions would impact how fun Letterpress is, which is to say: very. Fans of word games won't be disappointed. If you're starting to tire of Words With Friends, or just want additional word-focused fun, Letterpress deserves your attention.

 

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