Catena Enables Lessons Onscreen, Encouraging Ingenious Usage. Sagebrush. [Review]



If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a sucker for a good word game, and here’s a new multiplayer offering with an interesting idea behind it.

Catena by Fusee
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: Free ($0.99 upgrade)

Catena is all about you and your opponent making a chain of words. One player starts, and then the other has to come up with another word that uses one or more of the last letters of the previous entry. For example, if I played “wholesome,” my opponent could play “somewhat” or “metric” or anything else that continues the chain.

It has a few hiccups along the way, but it’s mostly a good time.

Higher difficulties add things like Killer Letter modes to make things trickier.

You have a couple modes to choose from; you can play local or online multiplayer or go up against the computer. For one-player mode, you have three difficulties up front and two more that you can unlock with a $0.99 in-app purchase (the upgrade also gets you additional color themes).

The game’s dictionary has 350,000 words, and the only restrictions you have on what you can play is that you can’t use plurals, and your word can’t contain the entirety of your opponent’s previous one. Other than that, you’re limited only by your own vocabulary.

It has a few hiccups along the way.

The goal is to fill up the circle at the top of your screen before the other player. You earn more points for longer words and using more existing letters to continue the change. The problem is that despite the percentage numbers present, it’s not clear how many points you’re earning per word.

Obviously you can get a general sense of how things are going from the icon, but I think a more traditional scoring system would be more useful to knowing where you stand than just watching a line form around a smiley face.

CatenaGame Name: : Catena
The Good: Solid, basic concept, and you might actually learn something. Plus, the music is pretty relaxing.
The Bad: Vague scoring system.
The Verdict: It’s a game just for word nerds, and it’s a lot of fun.
Buy from: App Store – Catena – Fusee



Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.