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If you really want to impress your friends with your knowledge of four-letter words, mush dev studio’s got an app for you! Wordistic (Out Now, Free to Try) puts the seasoned gamer’s on-the-fly judgment to the test and makes knowledge the reward for taking risks. You’ve got thirty seconds to pluck words out of a heap of falling letters, and your bid to reach a minimum score before the clock runs out will have you diving into areas of the English dictionary you never knew existed.

Yes, "Ynambu" is a word. In English. Whoda thunk!?Points based on word length and used letters are par for the course, but the tight clock makes Wordistic a deliciously sadistic take on the genre. Once you’ve built a word of at least three letters, you can turn it in for a few points and a few more seconds — or settle in for a game of chicken, hoping to wait out the clock long enough to tack on more letters and bring the current level to a swift conclusion. Landing that critical hit feels all the more satisfying when Wordistic cuts away to the definition of whatever-the-heck-you-just-spelled, revealing it to be a rare marsupial or a piece of the Scottish legal code. The definition lookup also serves a gameplay purpose in giving the player a chance to breathe. You can even spend a few minutes browsing its etymology right then and there since Wordistic is hooked into multiple online databases.

Naturally, there’s no way the average player is going to take advantage of a word like “Ynambu” without a little guidance. That’s where the real time word suggestion feature comes in. As soon as you pick a few letters, Wordistic shows you possible words you could spell out if you hang on to the current string — a suitably sadistic helper, as it takes some guts to trust it and wait for the right letters to pop up. The tension in Wordistic revolves around the constant temptation to dump your current letter string and scramble for another word.

Word2If the definition lookup and word builder guide seem more like distractions than aids to the seasoned genre vet, Wordistic‘s pause menu lets the player turn these off mid-game if desired. You can also randomize the string of letters and bonuses fed through its levels by tapping on the start screen logo. Wordistic keeps track of all the expected stats, from level time to best-scoring word.

Also worth noting is the score by ATLAS, an eclectic mix of rock spiked with hints of chiptuney synths. Musician David Carpenter is just as comfortable strumming on a guitar with atomic force as he is with a featherlight touch, making for a soundtrack that runs the gamut from psychedelic to mournful to folksy — just the emotional range needed to keep the whole experience fresh. Even if you’re not into word builders, this one is worth the free introductory download just for its neat 26-track playlist.