App Review: Game WordBrain

You need to know that Word Brain is a word-hunt game similar to classics like Boggle, where players swipe through a grid of letters to form words. There are hundreds of puzzles with increasing difficulty, and the words are all appropriate for kids at any age (though some are trickier to spell or find than others). The game does feature hints you can purchase with real money with no parent gate, and the temptation to use them is always present, so be wary of your device settings. Also there are quite a few full-screen advertisements for other apps, including war and fighting games. For information on the kinds of data the developers collect and share, see their privacy policy. 

Word Brain app

App Review: Game WordBrain

WHAT KIDS CAN LEARN

SUBJECTS

  • Language & Reading

SKILLS

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Self-Direction
  • Emotional Development
  • See full learning rating details

ENGAGEMENT  

Simple gameplay, smooth controls, and nearly endless challenging puzzles will keep kids hunting and spelling for a good long time, though pop-up ads interrupt flow and could frustrate and distract players. 

LEARNING APPROACH  

While the game does require kids to spell word correctly, it doesn't in any way teach proper spelling. There's no feedback to guide kids through mistakes or hint at common patterns and conventions. At best, this could be used for occasional practice. 

SUPPORT  

There's not a lot of help available either for tricky puzzles or spelling difficulties. The game has a nice tutorial and the option to buy (or earn) hints, but these aren't useful for learning support. 

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

WORD BRAIN is a word-hunt game in the same vein as the classic letter dice game Boggle or modern versions like Word Streak. Players drag vertically, horizontally, and diagonally through a grid of letters to spell each puzzle's hidden words. Every level's grid forms a word or several words using all the letters, and players must find them all to advance to the next level. There are hundreds of levels in increasing difficulty, from the easy starting 2 by 2 grids all the way up to extremely challenging 8 by 8 grids. As you find a word, the letter blocks disappear and the remaining ones fall to fill the space. Then, as the grids get bigger, players need to find words in a certain order or the blocks won't fall correctly, so sometimes you have to start over and try again. Along the way, players can earn and use hints to reveal letters in the correct solution, or buy more hints with real-world money. Every five or six levels in interrupted by a full-screen advertisement or video, which must be manually closed with a small exit button before continuing. The game also lets users create custom puzzles and share them with friends via a unique code. 

IS IT ANY GOOD?

There are a few interesting twists on the classic word-hunt gameplay that make this one fun, but the experience can potentially be pretty frustrating. The idea that every letter in the grid must be used is a cool variation, but since every puzzle has only one correct solution, open-ended thinking and multiple solutions aren't options, leading to discouraging grinds to guess the specific word that completes the puzzle (it might be "SPOT" even if "TOPS" is a perfectly valid option). Its minimalist look and easy controls are appealing, but getting booted out of the clean interface for flashy, in-your-face ads every few puzzles is a major bummer. And unless you're playing with a stylus or just have extremely precise touchscreen dexterity, there's a 50/50 chance you'll miss the ad's exit button and click a link instead, taking you to the app store or a website. Adding the possibility for multiple solutions and giving users the option to play a (perhaps paid) version without ads would dramatically change the game's entertainment and learning value. 

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