Word Ball - A Fun Word Game and App

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Engaging, somewhat frantic game with some spelling practice.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Easy to play. Three modes -- classic, frenzy, and sprint -- are basically the same concept with small twists. While the scoring is explained at the beginning of a game, while you're making words, you can't see the point value of letters, and at the end of the game, you can't see the point value of the words you made.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language

Words like "bitch" and "damn" are accepted.

Consumerism

A "credits" tab on the settings page lists the name of the developer, but does not link to its website or promos for other apps. Links to Facebook and Twitter pages are on the main page.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Users can opt in to OpenFeint, an interactive network that allows users to upload real avatar photos, post on message boards, connect with Facebook friends or Twitter followers, and access live chat with strangers. Users can opt in to Game Center to track achievements instead; it does not have chat and connections to other social media within the app. Players can send and receive friend requests using an email address or Game Center nickname, revealing the first and last name associated with each party's Apple ID and, in the case of email requests, the sender's email address. With Game Center on iOS 5, players can opt to have a private or public profile, which can include a photo. With a public profile, your real name is visible to all other players, and Game Center will recommend you to other players using your real name. With a private profile, only your friends can see your real name, and Game Center will not recommend you to other players.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Word Ball - A Fun Word Game and App is a simple but effective word-building game that challenges players to build as many words as they can with colorful balls that have individual letters on them, as they bounce around and disappear. The words need only be three letters long, so even younger kids who have just recently learned to read and spell on their own can enjoy the challenge of this game. Some words earn more points, depending upon length of word and letters used. The game organizes all of the words a player has spelled at the end of each round by alphabetical order. This game is useful in helping kids practice word building while having lots of arcade-style fun.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • spelling
  • vocabulary

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • decision-making
  • logic

Emotional Development

  • handling stress

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Once kids get the hang of this game, they'll be sucked into the action and hardly notice the spelling learning going on. The options are endless on this fun, sticky game.

Learning Approach

Spelling practice is baked into gameplay, then reinforced as kids review all words they have built in an automatically generated alphabetized list at the end of each round.  

Support

Excellent tips for beginners. Detailed specifics on scores, including score give immediately after each work, total score (out of 100) per round, and a history of scores. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • spelling
  • vocabulary

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • decision-making
  • logic

Emotional Development

  • handling stress

Kids can learn spelling by building as many words as they can with colorful bouncing balls, each containing a letter. Letters shrink and then disappear if unused, so kids need to move fast. Words earn points based on the value assigned to each letter; longer words earn more. Kids won't see the point value while playing, so it's not easy to use it to their advantage. They also won't get help with misspellings. Kids can see a list of their words after the round, but no definitions. Word-building skills combine with arcade-style fun; learning value is limited.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

Kids say

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Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

WORD BALL may seem a little frantic at first, with all those bouncy balls with letters on them bopping around your device's screen. But there's a method to this madness, and once your kid gets the hang of building words before the balls disappear, they will be sucked into the fun and hardly notice all of the vocabulary, concentration, and spelling practice going on. There's a subtle but challenging feature that make letters shrink if kids don't choose them, which challenges players to think about words (quickly!) containing letters they may not normally think to use (like "x" and "q") before they disappear; then, if used, the letter puffs up again, rewarding them for using it and giving them more chances. The alphabetized list of words that a player has built that can be seen at the end of a round is also a nice learning touch -- it's fun to see how players tend to gravitate to using words that begin with the same letter, for example. Then, next round, they can challenge themselves to not start any word with that letter. The options are endless in this deceptively simple yet very effective word game that many kids will return to time and again. 

Families can talk about...

  • Let your kid read his or her list of words to you and identify any unknown words. Work together to find definitions of the words.

  • Challenge your kid to make longer words.

  • Use Game Center achievements to set new goals.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Price:$1.99
Release date:December 12, 2011
Category:Word Games
Size:13.20 MB
Version:1.52
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2.0

This review of Word Ball - A Fun Word Game and App was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 5 and 9 year old Written bybcjames June 1, 2013
 

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No longer available. iTunes search as of June 1, 2013.

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