W.E.L.D.E.R.

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
W.E.L.D.E.R. App Poster Image
Strategic word game builds vocab; optional open chat.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Teens can learn some unique new words and improve their spelling in this fun word game. For the most part, players build words they're familiar with; however, when the letter tiles fall, words can automatically form -- some familiar, others not. If they choose to, players can tap on a word and read its definition. Teens also use strategy skills as they navigate the different types of tiles and try to stay under the number of tile swaps allowed in each round. W.E.L.D.E.R is a fun game that has the potential to help players learn new words, but they need to make a conscious effort to do so. 

Ease of Play

The rules of the game have some intricacies, but play is introduced slowly with a tutorial that can be accessed at any time. Play is fairly challenging, and difficulty gradually increases with higher levels, though the games are not timed. The game is single-player only. Games can be played locally or saved to iCloud, then accessed from any device.

Violence

The definitions of some words include descriptions of or references to violence. 

Sex

The definitions of some words include descriptions of or references to sex.

Language

Swear words that have other meanings, such as "damn," can be played, and their definitions can be viewed.

Consumerism

From the Shop link on the main menu, there are in-app purchases for Gigawatts from $2.99-$29.99. Gigawatts are are not necessary for gameplay, but the easy boost might be tempting for kids. There are also links on the main menu to rate the app or share with friends.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The definitions of some words include descriptions of or references to drinking, drugs, or smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that W.E.L.D.E.R. is a strategic word game that has optional links to social media and a mode that allows players to challenge friends or strangers. The 2-player mode includes chat features, which raises privacy and safety concerns for younger players. The game draws on the same word list as Words with Friends. Some words and definitions may include mature content. In addition, players can share the definitions or their scores on Facebook and Twitter and can also share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.

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What's it about?

W.E.L.D.E.R is like a challenging version of Boggle crossed with a little Bejeweled. On an eight-by-eight tile board of jumbled letters, players swap tiles to form at least a 4-letter word of connected letters (the Boggle part). When they make a word, those letters disappear, making the tiles above fill in and new ones to appear at the top (the Bejeweled part). Some tiles have special characteristics, like they can’t be swapped or are double the points, giving the game an element of strategy.

Is it any good?

W.E.L.D.E.R. has a lot to offer teens. While there are elements of sharing and potential privacy risks in 2-player mode, it can be played as a self-contained, 1-player game. The game can get a little monotonous, but the variety of tiles and achievements helps mitigate this. The different types of tiles and swaps make this game very strategic, similar to Befuddled. Stylistically, the game is reminiscent of Spellsquares, with tiles locking into place. What sets W.E.L.D.E.R. apart from most word game apps is the dictionary feature, making it a great way to learn the meaning of obscure words (instead of just using them to frustrate your Words with Friends competitors). Of course, the exposure to mature content in the definitions, as well as the social network sharing and open chat, make this best for teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Draw your kids' attention to the dictionary feature in W.E.L.D.E.R.; it's easy to miss and can add a bit of vocabulary learning to their gameplay.

  • Choose to play a fun word game like Scrabble or Balderdash for your next family night. Your kids can show off their vocabulary and learn from you, too.

App details

For kids who love working with words

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