Rather than give you a multiple choice of words (which would be far too easy), or simply leave you a blank dialog box (which actually makes it harder to give you hints and advice), you have a jumble of letters at the bottom of the screen, and blank spaces representing the sought after word.
Not only does this make for an easier user interface to input your guess at the word, but it also makes it possible to offer hints to the words. '4 Pics 1 Word' will let you remove a number of the letters available to play with, or you can reveal one of the letters in the word. These all take coins, which you earn each time you successfully solve a puzzle. You can buy more coins through an in-app purchase, but you can also earn coins by downloading other apps from the developer - oh and there's a one time bonus of 250 coins if you review the app in the Windows Phone Store.
I'm impressed by the developers with this trick, as it creates a cycle that leverages its users to boost the rankings of the app in the Windows Store, which keeps it riding high in the charts (and spotted by writers and reviewers like me). Well played.
The game itself is pretty compelling as well. It's challenging without being too hard, it's easy to dip in and out of, and it keeps a note of your progress so you can return to your streak of guesses after doing some work on your phone.
No it doesn't have the depth of a title like Zuma's Revenge, the complexity of Real Racing 2, or the social nature of Wordament, but it does have an addictive quantity, and sometimes the best challenge is the one you provide yourself because you really want to solve a level without any help.
Much like the many 'identify the logo' quiz games available, there are a number of variants (Rafe has looked at some of them previously on AAWP), but with the update earlier in May, Denham Software's version has climbed back up to the top of my list.
You can download 4 Pics 1 Word from the Windows Phone Store for free right now.