First there was Boggle, which led the family on a frenzied search for words. Then, there was Tetris, possibly one of the most addictive puzzle games ever. Now there’s SpellTower: A word game that fuses elements of Boggle with Tetris. It’s a lethal combination, but if controlled, delivers a powerful force for kids’ brains.
What is SpellTower?
An app that strengthens vocabulary, spelling skills, and visual-spatial skills. Letters are jumbled in a large crossword grid, and the goal is to find hidden words. Longer words yield more points.
So, what makes SpellTower different from other word games?
Every time you find a word, those letters vanish and new letters are added. In Tower Mode, you simply try to clear the screen by finding as many words as you can. In Puzzle Mode, a whole new row of letters is added as you make words. Watch out: If a column of letters reaches the top of the screen your game is over. Extreme Puzzle Mode is similar, but cranks up the minimum word length. Rush Mode requires nerves of steel, as new rows are introduced whether you have founds words or not.
Like Tetris, you have to envision the results of your letters falling to make new rows. You don’t want to back yourself into a corner!
Multiplayer Debate modes are available, but I haven’t tried them yet.
What are the benefits of SpellTower for kids?
1- Spelling: Any combination of letters may be attempted, but only correct spellings are accepted. It’s good practice for kids, who are quickly motivated to find and remember correctly spelled words.
2- Vocabulary: Longer words equal more points, so kids begin to think beyond common 3 and 4 letter words. Over time, they look for prefixes and suffixes that yield longer words (-ing, -tion, -re…) Great for language development.
3- Visual-spatial skills: Visual skills are key in finding patterns and combinations of letters. In the higher puzzle modes, envisioning the new rows that result from eliminated letters is key to busting out of a corner.
Who can play?
Ages 6-99, but stick with simpler modes for younger kids.
Where can you get it, and how much does it cost?
Available on itunes for $1.99. For iphone and ipad.
Caution: Kids should use this app with some limitations, as it is highly addictive. Just hope they don’t catch you playing for hours!