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iPad reviews of the week: Gesundheit!, Shift 2 Unleashed, Wooords, Tekken Bowling

Game: Wooords
Price: $0.99/£0.69
Size: 15.4MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store:US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

As writers, you might say we're predisposed to enjoying word games, but the App Store is so monumentally chock full of them that we just sort of put our blinders on when we hear about new options. Luckily, Wooords made it past our admittedly meager defenses – it's probably that damned eye-catching misspelling – and we're pretty thankful for this entertaining little spelling game. With a sparse aesthetic designed to mimic the colorful letters you'd mix and match on a fridge as tykes, Wooords keeps you engaged and thinking fast. And occasionally, sitting there stupefied and staring at the screen.

Wooords wooed us with a straight-up, no-frills approach that even non-gamers can dig into and appreciate within moments. Each puzzle gives you a handful of pre-selected letters, one of which must be used in each completed word. From there, it's simply a matter of building out as many words as you can with what's available, with bonus points awarded for rapid-fire creations and multisyllabic entries. You can work at your own pace, with many dozens of options available in each letter set, but spinning out a continuous web of words will make it much easier to notch the highest star rating for each puzzle, and will also improve your continuous IQ ranking.

Beyond the 30 built-in puzzles, Wooords also includes a new daily puzzle with a built-in leaderboard on the menu screen, along with a randomized Word Jam mode that tasks you with creating the most words within a limited span of time. Plus, this universal app works on both iPad and iPhone, and your progress carries over between devices, letting you build up your virtual IQ at home or on the run. If you're anything like us, you've played a bunch of swell iOS word games over the last couple years – from Words With Friends to WordFu – but we've got to agree with Wooords' menu tag: it's pretty "ooorsome." That probably won't work in the game, though.

Game: Tekken Bowl
Price: Free
Size: 54.8MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store:US (opens in new tab)/UK (opens in new tab)

Just last week, weonce more questioned (opens in new tab)Namco Bandai's sometimes-curious and irritating App Store sales techniques, but now they've dropped a totally free universal app based on one of its most notable franchises. Granted, it's not the first notable free iOS title from the publisher – Pac-Man Battle Royale (opens in new tab)dropped a few months back, offering a sneak peak at the arcade release – but we're still a bit surprised. Sure, Tekken Bowl isn't the more polished or robust iOS app we've seen, but this standalone mobile version of the fighter series' bowling mini-game is an amusing little entry. And really, what other app has a gargantuan, upright panda gloating after tossing a turkey? (Seriously, tell us.)

Tekken Bowl originated as a bonus mode in Tekken Tag Tournament and Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, but here, it's a much more limited affair that naturally lacks the accompaniment of a robust 3D fighting game. Much like the similarly streamlined Monkey Bowling mini-game in Super Monkey Ball, Tekken Bowl doesn't offer a ton of depth or complexity, though it's an entertaining diversion; and in this iteration, you'll use taps of the touch screen to navigate the lanes. You can move one of the three included characters – Jin, Xiaoyu, and Panda – left or right to aim your shot, then tap the screen to stop a rapidly-moving meter indicator that determines your shot angle, while another tap determines the power of the throw. Cue disappointed sound effects or goofy-looking fighters mugging for the camera, depending on performance.

Sure, Tekken Bowl isn't the glossiest app out there, with rudimentary player models plus Heihachi-shaped bowling pins that might trigger a nasty "jaggies" flashback from Tekken Tag Tournament. But the simple approach offers a decent amount of variety in the form of individual single-player and two-player alternating matches, along with several puzzle missions that find you completing quick and sometimes challenging bowling shots. And while it'd be nice to see an actual Tekken fighting game appear on the App Store at some point, it's tough to argue with free – especially when it's the kind of free that doesn't come with constant ads and sales pitches.

Aug 7, 2011

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