A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
Instructions are included, but some game elements aren't fully explained.
Products & Purchases
Ads can be removed or all levels can be unlocked for $2.99. Packages are also offered with those features and/or coins for $0.99-$9.99.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Word Hookup is a word puzzle game app for iOS and Android devices. The gameplay may be easy enough for kids to play -- although some guidance given within the game can be confusing. Kids may be told they've entered the correct word, for instance, but if they haven't touched all the surrounding spaces on the board, they won't be able to advance to the next level until they do. Because they've been told the word is correct, it's not initially clear that means they need to re-enter the word. Ads also have a pretty frequent presence within the app, both on-screen while kids are playing and between rounds. If they can't figure a puzzle out, clues -- which cost coins -- offer the only chance to continue playing. The packages aren't outrageously expensive -- ads can be eliminated for $2.99, and the highest-priced package, which includes no ads, unlocking the levels, and unlimited coins -- is $9.99, but there doesn't seem to be any way to earn coins in the game for free unless you watch an ad. Even then, you don't get many.
Is It Any Good?
This is a clever word search game that's held back by confusing currency and game rules that aren't cleanly explained, making it tricky to completely figure out. Word Hookup has a slight twist -- kids are told they need to incorporate all possible boxes on the screen when they swipe on letters to form a word. That's not completely true -- every box for the main word they're trying to guess in each round must be used, but don't need to be included for the shorter bonus words they can find. If they enter the correct word but don't touch every space, the app will indicate the word is correct but note all boxes need to be filled -- which can also be confusing because kids aren't directly told they need to go back and retrace the word for it to count.
The app has some other issues, though. While the background offers clues in some puzzles, such as drawings of vehicles to indicate the main word will relate to transportation, that's not the case in each round. Kids may enter perfectly legitimate words in rounds and find they're rejected because the terms aren't one of the half-dozen or so words the app says kids should be looking for. They'll earn stars for the correct words, but need coins to buy clues -- which provide the only help they can get if they're stuck -- and it isn't clear how coins are earned. There's seemingly no system to convert stars into coins, or information about why stars are at all useful. But there's plenty of pushes to buy coin and other packages from the app. The clues can help -- but the game could come to a grinding halt if they don't want to buy a coin package, especially since watching an in-game ad only gives enough coins to reveal a single letter in a secondary word in a round. It won't work for the main word you need -- and kids may not be too eager to repeatedly more ads since you're constantly subjected to commercials during play. Kids can probably find a less purchase-oriented, easier-to-use word search app elsewhere.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.