A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
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.
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.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: spelling
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic
- Price: $2.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: May 20, 2015
- Category: Education
- Size: 729.70 MB
- Publisher: Artgig Studio
- Version: 1.2.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later;
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love English and spelling
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.