A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that WordScapes is a word spelling game for iOS and Android devices. Gameplay is a mix of crossword and word search puzzles. There isn't a comprehensive set of directions, so players may be a little unclear about what they're earning when they finish rounds and what they're working toward. At least there isn't any inappropriate content, and gamers can't chat with or meet other people using the app. Players can spend real money to purchase in-game items like hints ranging from $.99 to $49.99, and they're subjected to occasional ads unless they spend a one time fee to get rid of them.
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What's it about?
WORDSCAPES combines elements of a word search game and a crossword puzzle. Players are given a few letters and are challenged to guess what words they could form; you can shuffle the order of your letters or purchase a hint for a 100 coins. There's no guess limit for a puzzle; to enter a guess, kids drag their finger across each letter in a word. Players can also click on a button to see word definitions. Puzzles are grouped into sections, such as forest and sunrise, that gamers move through as they complete rounds. Longer, more difficult words pop up as levels are advanced.
Is it any good?
This word game app mixes in fun with learning elements to give players an amusing time that can educate gamers while it entertains them. In Wordscapes, players can scramble letters they're given to see if a different formation will spark some spelling ideas, and they can get a detailed description of targeted words, which helps elevate the game to more than a just-for-fun pastime. It's easy to play since you swipe to choose letters, and gamers repeatedly see positive statements after they've guessed all the words in a puzzle correctly, which provides encouragement to keep playing. They'll consistently get more challenging puzzles as they do -- puzzles progress from three to seven-letter words at higher difficulty levels, but these are phrases even little kids should be able to recognize. The real challenge when you're asked, at times, to come up with eight or so different words from just four letters, which sometimes seems impossible.
The only big drawback is Wordscapes' lack of clear instructions. It's fairly easy to figure out how to play, and there's a few quick pop up hints, but otherwise, there's no tutorial on how to play or what you're doing through the game. As a result, players won't know how they're earning coins (the app's currency for hints) or how levels are structured. Nor will they learn that you'll earn a couple of coins for some bonus words that occasionally pop up. There's also no randomly generated puzzles here; if you get stuck, you have to either spend your earned coins for hints or pay for additional help to get past the word you're having trouble with. That could make some gamers stop playing if they don't want to pay for hints, and also limits its replayability. But if you can overlook this problem and you want to give your brain a workout, Wordscapes is a fun little challenge.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about reading and spelling. What should kids do if they come across an unfamiliar word? What's the best way to find out what this word means?
Wordscapes lets users pay for a clue to help them guess a word, which can be a jumping off point to talk about spending and saving. How can your child determine what a good expense is, versus an unnecessary one?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, reading, spelling, vocabulary
Math: addition, money, subtraction
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, solving puzzles, strategy, thinking critically
Self-Direction: achieving goals
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (with optional in-app purchases from $.99-$19.99)
- Release date: April 26, 2018
- Category: Word Games
- Size: 130.00 MB
- Publisher: PeopleFun
- Version: Version 1.0.3
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 9.0 or later and Android 4.1 and up.