Review: Equal Words
Word games are a bit of a guilty, time-wasting pleasure for most of us - they certainly keep the old grey matter chugging away and while away tiresome waits when needed. And Equal Words is beautifully constructed and pitched, almost the perfect mobile game, with just the clumsy cross-platform port that lets it down.
The idea behind Equal Words is that a batch of words/names with the same number of letter (hence 'Equal') are scrambled vertically, so that any first letter can go with any second letter, and so on. You have clues as to what each word is supposed to be and the grid is dragged down column by column to solve words in turn.
As you'd expect, there are hints available if you get stuck (revealing letters) and when you've run out of hints you can get an infinite amount more for a £2.29 in app purchase. Which seems very reasonable, given that it's - by definition - a one time thing. The other in app purchases are to get more puzzle packs, at £0.79p each - again very reasonable and it will take you a few weeks of playing to need more puzzles in the first place.
In other words, perfectly conceived and perfectly pitched in terms of freemium mechanics. This is how mobile games should behave in terms of giving (gameplay) and taking (money).
Now to the implementation, which (as I say) is by no means pixel perfect on Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone 8.1:
In terms of implemention, porting this across from iOS has meant that a) the whole phone screen isn't used, and b) more seriously, the swipe down nature of the game mechanic for letters gets instantly recognised by Windows 10 Mobile as the gesture to dismiss virtual controls, so these are gone immediately for each puzzle and then you have to bring them back manually as needed.
So, Equal Words is demonstrably imperfectly implemented here for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, but still a cracking game that I had a lot of fun with. No time pressures, no involved accounts or sign-ups, just casual word puzzling at its best.
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at