Loren Brichter gives puns a refreshing new twist with typography

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Letterpress – Word Game (Free) by atebits is the first application by Loren Brichter (creator of Tweetie, now Twitter for iPhone), after a year of silence. I’ve only spent a short time with Letterpress so far, but it turns out to be one hell of an experience. Word game fans will love this.

I remember when I first bought Tweetie in 2008 and fell in love with it. The way it was designed, the interface, how it worked – everything was perfectly smooth and fluid. If you remember what I am talking about, you will be extremely happy to know that Letterpress also features a beautiful design and layout as you would expect from the same person. From the moment you launch it, you can already see the greatness (at least me).

Typography - Wordplay screenshot by atebits

There is a brief tutorial that explains how the game works. It’s not just another Boggle-like game, so it needs a debrief.

Each game will have a 5×5 board of letter tiles. You can tap tiles from anywhere (they don’t need to be adjacent to each other) on the grid to make a word. Each letter is worth one point, so you don’t have to worry about inserting that “X” or “Z” tile into your word to get the highest score. Once you are happy with your word, just submit it. Of course, if it’s a word that’s not in the Letterpress dictionary, you’ll have to find something else.

There’s more to the game than just submitting any word you like too. In order to make things difficult, atebits decided on some word rules. Each must have at least two letters, can only be played once, and you cannot use the prefix of a previously played word. The help section of the game explains this, but basically if one person is playing “QUILTS”, the other can’t play “QUILT”, but playing “QUILTED” or “QUITTER” is okay.

The letters you use will then be transformed into your color (shown at the top of the screen). If you surround one of your tiles with multiple tiles of the same color, you end up “defending” that letter. This means that the other person cannot get a point when they use it in a word. Your other undefended tiles can be stolen by the opposing player, which can cause the defended tiles to lose their invulnerability.

It’s all about intelligence and outsmarting the opponent. The game will end once every tile on the board is colored, or when both players pass their turn. Whoever has the most points at that time will be the winner.

The best part of the game is that there is no play against the computer. Letterpress is fully multiplayer and you can be matched with a random opponent or invite your Game Center friends to a match. Once a game is complete, you can swipe on it to remove it from your games list.

Typography - Wordplay screenshot by atebits

Letterpress brings a whole new concept to the word game genre, and I’m extremely happy to see it. I’m a big fan of word games (even though I’m not as good as other players sometimes), but you have to admit that the genre can get old when it’s the same game over and over again. Just as Brichter impacted Twitter apps, I think he does the same for puns.

By default, the theme used is “Light”. There are several other theme choices available, but you’ll need to unlock them with a $0.99 in-app purchase. It will also increase the number of games you can play simultaneously. If you switch devices, you can restore purchases quickly and painlessly.

I personally upgraded Letterpress to the full version in about a minute after playing. I immediately fell in love with the game and also wanted all the themes, which are refreshing to change. The graphics are gorgeous, the typography is stunning, and everything just works. I’m not surprised that Brichter made Game Center a bit more useful with this game as well.

If you love word games, or just delicious apps from some of the best talent out there, then look no further than Letterpress – Word Game. This game is of exceptional quality and incredibly addictive with a challenging new concept. Get it for free in the App Store for your iPhone and iPad.

For those who decide to try the game and want to play with someone, feel free to add me on Game Center: christyxcore.

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