1000 Words is a decent effort, but it's not the most compelling word game in the mobile marketplace.
- Three game types
- Ancient Greece is a great setting for a game based on literacy
- Based on a classic game.
- Game types not original enough
- Too conventional
- Laggy control.
1000 Words is an anagram game set in ancient Greece, which is definitely one of the top 10 settings for word games. You play as a young apprentice who, under the tutelage of his aged master, will rise to overcome mythological figures (and even gods) at a variety of word scrambles. While this Grecian facade is of dubious value, the core game packs a fair amount of appeal for fans of classic word puzzles.
There are three main game types in 1000 Words. They all appear in the story mode but can also be enjoyed separately in quick play mode. In practice, these games are very similar--and only really differ in pacing. All the action takes place within an ionic entablature on the second tier of some apocryphal temple built upon a lofty acropolis. As you play, clouds drift lazily behind you, which is quite a nice effect (in a Microsoft Windows sort of way).
The classical game is the most common in story mode, and it's probably a good starting point for new players. Here you must discover a certain number of words within a six-letter scramble, all before your time elapses. The points you earn are based on the length of the words you enter. There is never more than one possible six-letter word, which gives it special significance. If you correctly identify several words in a row, a momentum meter to the left of the screen will fill up. When it does, you can press the 1 key to use a random power-up. These range from useful time freezes and extensions to less-helpful stuff, like rearranging your tiles. If you slip up a lot, your CPU opponent will earn a power-up of his own. He'll impotently attempt to disrupt your unscrambling flow by reversing your letters with the dreaded mirror attack, or some such nonsense.
Evolution plays just like classical mode but is quite a bit faster. Here, icons scroll upward from the bottom of the screen, prompting you to input a word of a particular length. So instead of the single time limit, you have these smaller time restrictions to contend with, the respective lengths of which correspond to the sizes of the words you're expected to find. This mode would be the most enjoyable, were the control more responsive on the Motorola V551. There's quite a bit of lag, and short time limits make it all the more apparent. If you've got a really low-end handset, don't bother trying to play 1000 Words at all, even if it's available. We first tested the game on a Sanyo PM-8200 and found it unplayable.
6 letter challenge is, as you might imagine, a simple matter of unscrambling single six-letter words. You get five tries to do it, but you wonder why these would be necessary, unless you're unclear as to whether your selection is actually a word. The quality of these words is inconsistent. For example, solutions like "honkey" are more than a little strange...plus, they give Samuel L. Jackson an unfair advantage.
In the story campaign, you'll never know with which of these game types you'll have to contend, and you'll likely find yourself looking forward to 6 letter challenges and classical play. Before each confrontation, you'll hear a couplet from the mythical figure you're facing. These rhymes are just awful, even when you consider that one of these impromptu poets is a Cretan minotaur.
The audio in 1000 Words just seems to fit, as it fades into the background. This is generally the mark of good sound effects in a puzzle game. While there's no background music, save for the opening menu theme, the congratulatory and conciliatory chimes in the game sound pleasant and appropriate.
1000 Words isn't a groundbreaking effort in any way. Gameloft has taken a familiar newspaper word game and has applied a classical veneer that's whimsical at best and silly at worst. Apart from some lag, there's nothing broken about the game, but it could have stood to be a bit more inventive. The power-ups aren't all that interesting, and the game types aren't quite varied enough. 1000 Words is a decent effort, but it's not the most compelling word game in the mobile marketplace. A picture's worth 1000 words, but 1000 Words may or may not be worth your valuable cash.