Parents' Guide to

Kitty Letter

By Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Refreshingly fun word game with humor from The Oatmeal site.

Kitty Letter Poster Image

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This witty spelling- and vocabulary-based game blends word search puzzles with an ongoing storyline. The conflict in Kitty Letter stems from a neighbor whose cats keep wandering onto your property and exploding. To stop that, you need to use an enchanted language vortex to unscramble words from a group of letters. Once formed, the words will then magically transform into cats who can help defend your home. Instead of levels, the game's broken up into chapters. Some involve additional challenges, such as only entering words that are palindromes.

The storyline doesn't equate to a plot, exactly -- primarily, kids will be trying to deal with groups of cats marching toward their house in each round, with different elements mixed in. Still, it's pretty enjoyable. Unconventional, at times almost dark humor is woven throughout the chapters, but the references generally are more wacky than inappropriate. The set of letters kids generate terms with can change during chapters -- and when it does, they're shown a word they could have entered, which offers a nice learning opportunity. They'll also see a word they're told they could have entered at the very beginning of the chapter, which is a little confusing, since they haven't started playing yet -- but the word search function may just be running on a loop. In some chapters, the additional challenge-related elements can make the action difficult to follow when you're also trying to rapidly combine letters into words at the bottom. But the marching cat battalions generally don't require too much active intervention, so while kids may be bummed if they miss some of the action, it won't have a huge effect on how the round plays out. The focus in Kitty Letter is, somewhat surprisingly, truly just on playing and having fun, which is a refreshing -- and rare -- take in today's game market.

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