Review: Text Twist 2 (Xbox Live)
Word games seem to be under-appreciated in the gaming genre. Notwithstanding the huge amount of praise they get from reviewers and the general public, it's tough to think of a gaming title that has had success outside of the Scrabble-sequel Words By Post/Words With Friends style of gaming. Unfortunately, Text Twist 2 is not going to change that.
Version Reviewed: 18.104.22.168
The basic game is built around anagrams, challenging you to find a mix of the longest word, and as many shorter words as you can.
The standard and untimed levels hand you a game field, which might have space for more than one four letter word - your job is to find them all, and of course if you find the anagram that uses all the letters, the bonus word, then you can move on immediately to the next grid and random tiles, or carry on finding more words and racking up the score.
You also have Letter Mania, Lightning Round, and the Daily Word level to play. The latter is probably the most interesting one, as it's designed to pull you back to the game each day. Once every twenty four hours you have one selection of letters and need to make as many words as possible. The problem is, it's exactly the same as a standard game, but only one round long. A nice idea, poorly implemented.
Letter Mania at least tries to do something a bit different. Once you make a word those tiles are replaced and you have a new challenge in front of you, while Lightning Round asks you to just look for the anagrams and nothing else.
Sometimes you can take all the elements that you think you need for a game, put them together... and they don't work. That's what has happened here with Text Twist 2. Word games need a delicate hand to make them work well, and when they do you get something very special (I'm looking at you, Quarrel, and waiting for the Windows Phone version). But this is not a special title.
One of the issues I have to take with the developer of Text Twist 2 is its dictionary, because it seems to be rather small, without a variety of words that I would have expected to be legal. Typically, now I come to write this review up, I don't have any examples to hand, but the dictionary is rather quirky. I wonder where it has been sourced from?
The other issue is graphics. While there's only so much you can do with a tile-based game, it does feel like the quickest route has been taken in terms of design. There's no real love, just workmanlike backgrounds, gaps for tiles to be placed into, a boring font for the menus... I suspect that this was worked on during office hours only, and there was no inclination to do more to make it smashing.
To sum it up, Text Twist 2 makes the biggest mistake possible for a game. It's not fun. It should work. But it doesn't. I was ready to delete the trial after about five minutes, but I persevered. It didn't get any better. So a competent bit of code, but with no spark to make it a good gaming experience.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at