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A Seattle startup founded by two former Microsoft engineers is jumping into the ultra-competitive market for turn-based social games, but with a different take on the genre.

The new iPhone app, called Wordplay, feels like a combination of Scrabble, Tetris and a slot machine — letting gamers play multiple words at a time in any open space and then watch the tiles fall into place with a gravity effect, racking up additional points as new words are formed in the process.

It’s the creation of a company called Springy LLC, founded by Alex Malek and Will Bradley. Previously known as Robot Wheelie, the company is known for its FaceGoo and FatGoo apps, which let users turn pictures of their friends into goofy renderings with stickers and other effects.

Those earlier apps have become hits among teenagers — a “Magic Stickers” feature that they added to FaceGoo has proven to be huge — but the startup is aiming to appeal more to adults with the new Wordplay app.

Alex Malek and Will Bradley

“Words with Friends” is the best-known game in this particular genre, but Malek says the goal with Wordplay “was to build something that was more exciting and played faster. We also wanted it to have a beautiful modern look to it, something that would appeal to adults.”

The app is available as a $1.99 purchase or free with ads. Users can play against their Facebook friends, random opponents or the “Wordbot.” The game also integrates with the iOS Game Center and offers in-game chat and push notifications.

Malek and Bradley both started at Microsoft straight out of school and worked there for a decade before leaving to found their startup. Malek worked on products including SharePoint and Internet Explorer, while Bradley worked on Microsoft Word and Visual C++.

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