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Are you ready to Writer Rumble?

7:00 PM on 12.01.2012

Let's imagine I yelled that

Writer Rumble (formerly Word Fighter) was released on iOS this week and, having seen a number of other people had picked up the game and seemed to be enjoying themselves, I also took the plunge and have been playing quite a bit of it.

It has a cool premise, with players taking on the role of re-imagined versions of literary legends such as Homer, Agatha Christie, the Brothers Grimm, and Edgar Allen Poe to fight with words. The game takes the form of a Boggle-like grid of tiles bearing letters and the player creates words by linking together connecting tiles with swipe controls. Tiles have individual point values and the effectiveness of a word is based on the total number of points it's worth.

In single-player, the enemies are waves of creatures which reference literary works, marching across the screen one after another in waves. Their hit points vary, so there's a bit of strategy involved in choosing when to spell out words you've already spotted on the grid so that you're not wasting powerful attacks on minor foes.

There are other abilities available to help as well, and up to three can be selected for use in a game. Abilities can be used to scramble the tiles or swap them, add damage bonuses, and gain health and damage resistance. These abilities take time to charge but can really help turn the tide in a rough spot or dramatically extend your game.

Now, Boggle is totally not my game and I'm equally poor at Writer Rumble, I suspect. Even on a good run, I can't clear the sixth wave of the survival mode. It's still fun, regardless of my ineptitude. Swiping works pretty well most of the time, but I would sometimes have difficulty with it catching the last letter in a word -- a minor, but noticeable issue when the chips are down. That there's no option to tap letters in sequence seems like an oversight to me, but perfectly playable as-is.

You may note that I haven't mentioned anything about the multiplayer, which you would think would be the main draw of the game, pitting two players in head-to-head word battle action. Unfortunately, I seem to be having an issue getting my iPad to connect to the servers managing the online leaderboards (which, really, could be anything going wrong and not necessarily anything to do with the game) leaving me without the multiplayer.

Which is another niggling problem. If unable to log in to Game Center while playing Writer Rumble, the game will not allow access to the multiplayer mode. While that would make perfect sense normally, this also means there's no access to local multiplayer, which pretty seriously limits the appeal of that feature when traveling or otherwise without access to the internet.

So, in summation, Writer Rumble has a very challenging single-player mode which I have found to be engrossing. I've heard great things about the multiplayer, though unable to experience it myself, but I'd say this is worth checking out further just on the basis of what I've played. You can go download it yourself from the App store, where it's selling for a measly buck.

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