Mystery Word Town Spelling

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Mystery Word Town Spelling App Poster Image
Old West crime-fighting takes kids on a spelling adventure.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to spell certain words by adding in the missing letters. They'll have to think critically and problem-solve, too, because they can only keep 10 letters in their bank at a time, so they may have to delete one, go back, and find a needed letter elsewhere to complete a word. With customizable features that put kids in the game, Mystery Word Town is a really fun way for kids to practice spelling.

Ease of Play

Verbal instructions get kids started; then kids tap the screen to move the ghost sheriff through the building.

Violence & Scariness

The premise is that a band of outlaws has stolen some gold, but there's no actual violence, and no weapons are featured.

Sexy Stuff
Language

Outlaw characters are named and speak in Wild West slang, including "cow patty" and "cow chip."

Consumerism

Logo ad on start page connects to the app store if held for a few seconds.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Saloon is a milk-and-cookie bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, though the premise of Mystery Word Town is a bit criminal, it's all in kid-friendly, crime-solving fun. A band of robbers has stolen some gold and hidden it -- and themselves -- in buildings around town. Kids have to spell words to go through doors and windows in search of the gold and the outlaws. Parents can set up different accounts for multiple kids, setting difficulty levels based on three word lists. There are two ways to play: Kids listen to a word and fill in the missing letter, or they fill in a letter that will create a word. Kids also can create and customize their own word lists.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 year old Written byqb1 April 13, 2016

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What's it about?

In MYSTERY WORD TOWN - SIGHT WORD SPELLING, a gang of outlaws, the Huevos Rancheros, stole the gold and are hiding in the town. Kids take on the role of the ghostly sheriff to find all the gold and the outlaws; to move from room to room, they have to spell words correctly. Before playing, kids can create an avatar, choose their challenge level (easy, medium, or hard), and customize word lists by recording themselves saying the words. They then collect letters as they wander around buildings in town and use them to spell words. They can tap the pictures hanging on walls to hear more of the tangled story of the town's residents. If kids have the words read to them, they fill in the missing letters. If they choose the option to spell on their own, they'll still fill in missing letters but without the audio clue.

Is it any good?

Mystery Word Town - Sight Word Spelling is a fun way to construct words, but even more interactivity would keep kids coming back. The details of each scene are gorgeous and beg to be explored, and there are audio bits attached to many items, but the images are static. Pictures on the walls tell witty tales sure to delight and encourage critical thinking. Spelling is the educational focus, but the fun and critical thinking go beyond that. If kids struggle with a word, after two incorrect tries they get a hint, but there are no hints as to where the gold is hidden. Being able to customize words lists opens the game up to even older kids learning more literacy skills, and it puts kids into the game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the methods that help them learn how to spell. Does filling in missing letters help them learn words and spelling? What else helps?

  • Have fun adding to the stories behind each character. Kids get to hear parts of their stories by tapping the pictures on the walls, but they can get creative and embellish them too.

  • Look through the three word lists when setting up kids' accounts to chose the ones that will challenge them while still being playable.

App details

For kids who love English and spelling

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