Wavering attention might get you past the first few levels, but if you want to conquer the later ones, absolute determination is required to get those awesome combos and high-scoring words. But no matter how hard it gets, no matter how frustrated, anguished or hopeless the fight to protect words becomes, W.E.L.D.E.R. has that rare addictive quality that will pull you back in for another try.
This love to hate relationship is all down to the gameplay. Like most word games, W.E.L.D.E.R.’s gameplay consist of a grid of letters which you must match into words. You do this by swapping two adjacent letters (including diagonals), however different letters and panels have different properties. For example, gold panels grant you double points, whereas red hot panels can’t be moved without a spanner, but add 8 points onto the word. As you pass each level, you are granted with new moves, such as shifting a selection of letters a certain direction, or reversing their order.
The main catch is that you only have a limited number of swaps at your disposal. This replenishes gradually through the level as you earn points, but it’s the reason why you need to be so thrifty with your moves.
In no time, you will be considering the different moves at your disposal, the many different coloured panels and the amount of swaps you have left to find that perfect 100+ word. Because of the breadth of gameplay, W.E.L.D.E.R. couldn’t be categorised into the casual realm of word games, and instead requires careful thought before each move or else it could be your doom.
Many times I have accidentally activated an action without meaning to. Although you get 3 undos per level, it still seems like you have to be extra careful about every click, to make sure you don’t activate something unintentionally. Thankfully the stakes are lowered by the fact that if you fail a level, you have the option to restart from the level you were at rather than the complete beginning.
Despite being a paid app, W.E.L.D.E.R. does include some in-app purchases in the form of Gigawatts which enable you to get spanners, upgrades and the Apocalypse Swap. Gigawatts are acquirable in the game without paying, and it’s not impossible to earn a sizeable amount in a short space of time. But for those who want a kick start have the option to pay more (which in my view defeats the object of buying the game in the first place).
W.E.L.D.E.R.’s industrial atmosphere; the bent copper border and the sounds of loud machinery in the background are effective at creating a vibrant and alive workplace. But the last thing I want to do after a long hard day at work is to sit down and get immersed into an industrial environment. The graphics aren’t badly executed, just a little unattractive.
W.E.L.D.E.R. certainly has its problems, but all of them are overshadowed by the excellence of the gameplay. If simple old Scrabble isn’t satisfying your hunger for word matching, then this is your next best step.
Publisher: Ayopa Games
Genre: Word Game
Pros: Incredibly addicting, many different moves and tiles, wicked combos.
Cons: Challenging, accidental swaps, in-app purchases, slightly unattractive graphics.