SpellTower+

App review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
SpellTower+ App Poster Image
Clever word puzzle game is hard for struggling spellers.

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A lot or a little?

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

Ease of Play

The game uses simple touch controls, and has a helpful tutorial, but can be tough.

Violence
Sex
Language

While it was impossible to test if other curse words would work, because the letters are random, it was possible to spell the word "ass" for points.

Consumerism

There are infrequent ads, but an ad-free version is available, one that adds five mode modes of play. It's also the sequel to SpellTower.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that SpellTower+ is a word-based puzzle game for iOS devices. The gameplay is safe for all ages, though it will possibly frustrate young gamers. It has no inappropriate content, save for possibly being able to spell profanity. Though the randomness of the letters made it impossible to spell every curse word, it was possible to spell the word "ass," and receive points for that word. There are ads that occasionally pop up, but players can spend real world money -- $4.99 to be exact -- for the full version of the game, which has no ads and eight modes of play (the free version has three). Also, they warn you when an ad is about to be show, and apologize for interrupting your game. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared, and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

In SPELLTOWER+, like the original SpellTower, you have to connect letters to make words. In doing so, you remove those letters, and sometimes the other ones around them. The free version of the game comes with three different variations on this puzzle mechanic, while the full version -- which is available for $4.99 -- adds five more. There's also daily challenges that pit you, score-wise, against your fellow wordsmiths.

Is it any good?

While this word puzzle is safe for all ages, it's not the kind of thing that would appeal to young gamers...or old ones who are bad spellers. Like the original SpellTower, SpellTower+ is like those puzzles where you have to find words on a page full of letters. Except that when you find a word, it removes those letters, and sometimes others around it. You can also go diagonal, even if it means crossing streams. Sometimes, you may have to make words with a certain number of letters. For example, if you have a "L" with a "5" on it, you can't spell "late" but you can spell "later" or "slate." The free version of this game also has three somewhat varied modes: "Puzzle," which is the basic game, " Tower," which adds a row of letters at the bottom when you find a word, and ends the game when the upper-most letter hits the top row, and "Rush," which also ends when the upper-most letter gets too high, but instead adds rows of letters over time.

Regardless of which you play, though, this is a very entertaining and challenging word puzzle game. So much so, in fact, that you might never felt the need to spend $4.99 to get the other five modes included in the paid version of the game. In fact, the only negative thing that can be said about this word puzzle game, and it's barely a thing, is that this is decidedly not for really little kids. And not just because you can spell the word "ass" if those letters come together. No, it's because this may prove to be too frustrating for kids, especially if they play "Rush" mode. But if you already know your ABCs, and have played your fair share of word puzzle games, you'll get a K-I-C-K out of SpellTower+.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about spending money. Is there a reason to pay for the complete version of SpellTower+ when the free version only has infrequent ads? Do the five additional modes make it worth the price for the full version? How do you decide when to pay for something when you can get a partial version for free?

  • SpellTower+ has occasional ads, but why do you think games like this have ads in the first place? How do the ads make you feel? Does it matter that they're infrequent?

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPad
  • Price: free with ads and microtransactions
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: July 20, 2020
  • Category: Word Games
  • Size: 148.50 MB
  • Publisher: Zach Gage
  • Version: 1.0.10
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or later
  • Last updated: August 4, 2020

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