Flip Words 2
Developer: Red Marble Games
Price: $20 (download); $25 (CD)
Requirements: Mac OS X 10.3.9. Universal.
Trial: Fully-featured (60 minutes).
It has been awhile since I played a game that got me addicted immediately, if you don’t count my first evening playing with a Wii. Even the basic games on that puppy had me hooked. But that’s a different story. This story is about Flip Words 2, which had me playing for an hour before I looked at the clock. This one is good.
The Red Marble Games Web site is easy to navigate. My download went without incident, though it was kind of slow. Maybe my cable connection was to blame. Sometimes they work on it late at night.
I launched the game, which was also a tad slow, but there was nothing to worry about. It’s nice to take a breath every now and then.
The entry screen is pretty obvious, with a large Play button welcoming you. I started into the Classic version.
Here I’m in Round 12, with ten turns to solve the puzzle.
The point of the game is twofold: you want to make words by linking letters on the grid, and when you do, you want the first letter of that word to reveal itself in the puzzle above. So if you link the word cat in the grid, you’ll get all the Cs in the puzzle at the top. If you’ve already solved a word starting with C, most of the time, you won’t want to waste a turn on another one. The exception is if you have a word long enough to score bonuses, which is anything five letters or more.
Hangman players know letter frequencies in English run something along these lines:
and choose their starting letters accordingly.
That’s the one I learned from a book published in the 1950s, so it’s probably shifted a bit, but the general idea is the same. To succeed at Flip Words 2, you’ll need to start with words beginning with some of these letters. It took me too long to figure this out, and I ran out of turns in Classic version sooner than I should have. There are also gimmicks, but they’re secondary to the word-making, which is why we’re here.
I ran out of turns before I figured out the word eight, which I thought began with a consonant like L or R.
Now that I had the hang of it, I started the Strategy version. It’s essentially the same game, but you earn tokens instead of using turns. You may use your tokens to purchase vowels or to have the game show you the longest word on the grid. Now that I knew how to play the game, I could not use the tokens as fast as I earned them (you receive bonus tokens when you solve the puzzle, based on the number of letters left uncovered). I finally had to just quit, though the game saved my information, so I can start there next time, with the tokens already built up.
I raked in lots of tokens for solving this puzzle early.
I moved on to the Party version, which is online. In this one, groups of people solve a puzzle by making word chains. There is no “solving early.” I wanted to like it, but I didn’t. I don’t know if my opponent was a real person because the chat section only allowed us to use prewritten comments such as “Way to go!” and “Bummer.” We couldn’t type real questions. Also, his name was pretty generic, so I thought maybe he was a bot.
This part could be interesting if you played competitively, or played with friends. But the game is essentially designed for solo work, I think, so it seemed a little contrived to try to play it as a team. But that might just be me.
Other online features include high-score tables, and you can also submit puzzles for other players. My game downloaded a couple of dozen each time I got online.