One of the better Yuletide traditions is the venerable holiday Advent Calendar, in which each day of December leading up to Christmas is marked off on a special calendar by opening its corresponding door to find a small gift, toy or chocolate squirreled away inside.
This year, we here at Cult of Mac decided we wanted to give our readers their very own Apple-themed advent calendar, filled with the year’s best apps, gadgets, stories and other curios. So each day in December, we’re going to lovingly peel back the door on the Cult of Mac 2012 Advent Calendar to reveal another delicious morsel, something really special that came out this year that we think every one of you should enjoy.
So what’s behind the door on Saturday the 8th? Letterpress for iOS, a word game for the rest of us, with a simple, cutthroat strategy and an amazing visual design!
I’ll be honest: I’ve never really liked Scrabble. The game itself is fine, but it’s become something of a hipster snob phenomenon lately, and really winning the game is more about knowing the words that get the highest scores than it is about having a large vocabulary. I hated it as a kid, and I have to say I don’t like it much more now as an adult.
Now Boggle, I can get behind. Give me a random grid of letters and a timer, and I am all about finding all the different words within that grid as possible. I don’t care if they score highly or not; the more words I can find, the better.
With that firmly in mind, it’s really no wonder I dig the hell out of atebit’s latest iOS game, Letterpress. At a base level, Letterpress is like Boggle with friends, with a gorgeously subtle and simple interface. It also has a clever twist to the “find as many words as you can” strategy that, come to find out, keeps me playing this game long past the time when most other iOS games I initially like are deleted from my iPhone or iPad.
With Letterpress, there are two players at a time. You can invite folks via GameCenter, either friends on the service, or have it find a random, Auto-match opponent. Once in-game, you each take turns finding words from the random 25 by 25 letter grid. The letters can be from anywhere in the grid; they do not need to be in a line like Boggle. Once you take your turn and hit submit, Letterpress checks your string of letters to make sure it’s in the game dictionary, and a notification is sent to your opponent.
Your opponent is then tasked with finding their own word within the grid. This time, however, they can choose letters from the word you chose (in blue) and turn them red. This gives them a point as well as takes a point away from you. The lovely strategy here is that when it’s your turn, you can do the same. The ideal is to take as many letters (and points) from your opponent on each turn as possible, while using as many letters at once per word for a higher score.
This word-cum-strategy game is brilliant on many levels and I’m pretty sure if you give Letterpress a try, you’ll love it.