Whether you’re a wordsmith or bookworm, you’ve probably played Scrabble or one of its online alternatives. Symbian has not been supported by the likes of “Words with Friends” and WordFeud – until now. Thanks to Word Tiles Multiplayer, you can put your vocabulary and spelling to the test against your friends and anonymous Internet players. So if you know your triple word score from your double letter score then this is a game for you.
Word Tiles starts off by offering you the option to register an account or just to play a local game where you’ll pass your phone to a friend and back. Registration asks for a username, email address, phone number, and password. Strangely, there was no option to login though.
Once set up, you can opt to play against a random opponent, search for an opponent by their username, or email an invitation to anyone in your contacts database. Again, you also have the option to play a “local pass game”.
Setting up a game of Word Tile.
Once you get playing, the rules are just the same as any of the other games in this genre (see above). There is a pool of letters randomly assigned to each player; there are no wildcards though – sorry, Words With Friends fans. Letters have various values, and the trick is to place the highest value tiles on squares that will double or triple their points, or spell words through tiles that will double or triple the entire word score. Your bonuses can stack up if you spell a word across several multipliers too.
To construct words, you must spell from top to bottom or left to right; you can’t go backwards or diagonally. Also, you can create multiple words by having rows or columns that interconnect and overlap, but all adjacent letters must make actual words.
If you find yourself absolutely stuck, you can elect to swap some or all of your tiles – however you may be limited if there are less letters remaining than you want to change. You can of course retire – but you’re not a quitter are you?!
Starting a new game and swapping tiles.
The game starts in a zoomed-in mode (see above), and you can move around by dragging across the screen. This is not a good way to get an overall view of the state of play though – but a double tap lets you see the entire board. However, the relatively low resolution of Symbian makes things a tad difficult to read.
Zoomed out, zoomed in.
Word Tiles requires you to be sure of your spellings though – it doesn’t let you experiment with constructing words very much. If you play an invalid word, you can of course start again. However, if you’ve played a valid word, tapping Play will enter that word, and it won’t let you tweak the spelling before you end your turn.
If you’re playing online, you never quite know when your opponent will take their turn. They might play immediately, or they might be starting their day’s work. Fortunately, Word Tiles lets you know which games are waiting for you to take your turn, and Nokia Belle notifications are even supported. I found that notifications were fairly inconsistent though – most didn’t make it through, and latency ranged from minutes to hours. However, Word Tiles is still in Beta, so I would expect issues like this.
Notifications and game updates.
Word Tiles Multiplayer is unique on Symbian, and brings it up to speed with other platforms which already have Word with Friends and/or WordFeud. There’s nothing to separate the gameplay of Word Tiles from these other titles, but that’s actually a compliment. It’s rather amazing that the game is free, considering that someone has to pay for the backend server, and there are no adverts to subsidise those running costs either!
David Gilson, 20th March 2012.