Wordly (out now, FREE) is a freemium word game in which you’re given a grid of 25 letters to form words. Though the emphasis is in challenging friends or strangers, you may also pit your word-forming skills against several AI characters, called the Greats. Unfortunately, it’s a must to have an internet connection even for the single player mode.

screen568x568There aren’t many rules in Wordly. Your goal is to reign the board by painting as many tiles as possible in your color (blue). You’ll do this by forming words, the longer the better since points will be awarded for each word. Your opponent, whose tiles will appear red, can still use your blue letters and win them over. Tiles may be locked or blocked off if they’re completely surrounded, but they can be unlocked by using a neighboring tile. Once all the tiles are colored, your score will be tallied.

Wordly‘s basic gameplay is fun, and you may take as much time as you wish to select your letters. However, playing a game against others across the network may take far longer than you’d like, since the other player may not respond immediately. And due to Wordly‘s freemium model, the single-player mode is geared toward trying to irritate you into buying IAPs by making you wait. You need what Wordly calls Brain Power (indicated by a lightning symbol) to play against the in-game characters. This involves a minimum of one Brain Power per turn. For some characters, it’ll cost more. However, it takes long minutes to generate just one Brain Power, and you can only accumulate a maximum of eight. While it’s possible to finish one game within that limit, you’ll have to be thrifty with your moves. And after that, you’ll have to wait to recharge for the next game. Unless you’re willing to splurge on IAPs.

Despite the drawbacks, single-player mode is excellent fun, and your AI opponent will grow more skillful as you progress farther up the ranks. Wordly does suffer from ads, which would require a $4.99 IAP to remove, but they aren’t so terribly obtrusive.

iFanzine Verdict: Wordly is a simple, relaxing word game, and you have little to lose by trying it. It’s probably the most fun if you have friends or family to play against; single-player mode is excellent, but you’ve got to be ready to wait hours between games in order to fully recharge your Brain Power.