Word-Fu Review

Word-Fu LogoWord-Fu is a simple, yet addictive word game from ngmoco:) for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform. With its fast pace, intuitive controls and effective presentation the game is an original way to have fun with words.

Each round allows you 20 seconds to select the letters you will be using from nine lettered dice. Shaking your device will randomize all the dice and you can also flick a single die to switch its letter by touching the screen. The default mode will let you use each die multiple times per word, so it is best to avoid doubles when choosing your letters. In the harder mode called Shaolin Style you can use each die only once. Read More...

Once you have selected your letters, you get 45 seconds to find as many words as possible. Each word scored will add two to four seconds on your play clock – depending on its value – with the round ending when the time runs out.

Make the Most of Your Power-UpsTouch the letters on the screen to spell words and flick your device to lock them in – your best Kung Fu chop will do. This frantic motion really gives the game a fast-paced and exciting feel. The longer the word, the higher is its point value – though the exact scoring method is not explained. High scoring words will also earn you power ups which include the ability to flick one die, freeze time and multiply your score.

Every wrong entry will deduct one point off your total score. Word-Fu uses the Collins Scrabble Words 2nd edition dictionary from HarperCollins to provide a robust word library.  Most proper names, vulgarity and slang are not accepted as scoring words by the game.

The Hall of Legends holds twenty Belts which are earned for achievements like high scoring rounds, X-lettered words and using all the dice at once. Word-Fu offers versus local multiplayer but no online play or leaderboards.

The game has an oriental temple look and feel.  The dice and background have wooden textures and the heads up display uses Asian inspired fonts. The sound design is also appropriate with convincing “hiyahs”, deep drum beats and ambient nature sounds, giving you the impression of a Shaolin temple.

Word-Fu is quite enjoyable in short bursts but can feel repetitive over longer sessions. At a price of $1.99 it may be too shallow for some. Its stylized presentation, fast pace and Kung Fu themed mechanic are a big part of the game’s charm making the game a fun choice for word game fans on the go.

Brian’s Take: ngmoco:) has published Topple, Dr. Awesome and, of course Rolando. That catalogue itself should speak to the quality of Word-Fu. I’m not very good at it; I never seem to end up with good letters to work with, but the fast-paced gameplay and level of polish keep me coming back for more. I’d like to see options to play longer rounds and online leaderboards added to flesh out the Word-Fu experience.


+ Fast-Paced, Addictive Gameplay
+ Makes Good Use of Available Controls
+ Polished Presentation


- Only One 45 Second Mode
- No Online Play or Leaderboards


Game Forward score: 3/5

Nathalie Caron > Game Forward


Word-Fu (iPhone/iPod Touch) Quick Facts:

Genre: Word Puzzle
Developer: Demiurge Studios
Publisher: ngmoco:)
Release Date: February 25, 2009 (v1.0)
Price: $1.99
iTunes Rating: 4+