Two weeks ago, GeekWire Staff Writer Taylor Soper suggested that I should try out “Letters of Boom,” the new word game for the iPhone from Seattle Seahawks Cornerback Richard Sherman. As an upstanding 49ers fan, I decided I’d only do it if my team lost against the Seahawks.
We all know how that went. So, here I am, after spending a week playing Richard Sherman’s new game, which was developed by creative agency Digital Kitchen. I don’t know if this makes me a bad 49er fan, but I actually liked it.
This isn’t the next “Letterpress” or “Words with Friends,” but it’s competently executed and genuinely fun – even for a proud owner of a throwback Jerry Rice jersey.
Hey, Sherman did graduate from Stanford, after all.
Right off the bat, “Letters of Boom” feels like the sort of title Sherman would make, and not just because his signature is on the title screen. The entire color scheme is based around the Seahawks’ blue and green kit, with Sherman himself providing voiceover work to punctuate the soundtrack.
Here’s how it works: Users start each game with two empty racks that can hold up to 7 letter tiles at the top and bottom of the screen, along with a stack of tiles in the center of the screen that they can swipe up or down to form words. Those words carry certain point values, and the game increases in difficulty as users rack up more points.
Users can choose from two game modes: a “classic” mode that gives people unlimited time to form words but a set number of tiles, or a “blitz” mode that provides unlimited tiles but limited time.
There are a few added wrinkles to that basic formula, including bonus tiles that allow users to gain even more points. Another system gives users additional time or tiles based on their letter placement – it’s hard to explain in text, but easy to understand once you’re in the game.
Scrabble fans will find Letters of Boom’s dictionary surprisingly robust, with the addition of certain “Shermanisms” like “swag,” “wooo” and “picksix.” (Playing each of those words carries with it a special Game Center achievement, for people who are into that sort of thing.)
There’s just one problem: the game doesn’t save its state if users walk away for a while, so people who want to pick up an ongoing game after a few days of inactivity will be disappointed. All of the mechanics at play in Letters of Boom push people to complete a game in a single play session, so it’s not surprising that saving isn’t fully supported, but I’m still disappointed by that.
Overall, word-game fiends looking for an interesting new challenge, and Seahawks fans looking for a way to pass the time between downs victories [edit from Seattle] will get some good enjoyment out of Letters of Boom.
It’s available for 99 cents on the App Store.