Word Arena - Review/Preview [Updated]

The Windows Phone Marketplace has its fair share of word games and in the coming days, its numbers will grow by at least one. Z Games, the developers of Bubble Burst and Pandemic, have submitted Word Arena to the Marketplace. Word Arena reminds me of Wordrix and Wordament but with a few more features. We had the opportunity to get a sneak peak at Word Arena and found it to be an enjoyable Windows Phone game.

To find out more about this new word game for your Windows Phone, slide on past the break.

The game concept is simple, you are given a sixteen letter, 4x4 grid of letters and you have to find all the words hidden within the grid. You play against the clock (two minutes) and against other players (who are viewing the same letter grouping) in an online arena. You just trace the letters with your finger to create words of three or more letters. You can trace letters in any direction as long as you don't back trace. There is a rotation symbol in the upper right corner of the game screen that will rotate the letter grid. This comes in handy if you start to get stumped in finding words.

Correct words are highlighted in green, words you've already selected highlight in yellow and incorrect or misspelled words are highlighted in red. If you simply guess, a pop-up box will appear that tells you to stop guessing.

At the end of each game, a listing of all the words will appear along with your stats and placement amongst other players. From the player ranking, you can tap on a player's name and add them as friends or send them a message (more on this in a bit). Word Arena also has a practice mode where you can work on your spelling skills without worrying about competing against other players.

In addition to the game, Word Arena also has a chat feature and Live Tile support. The Live Tile will display notifications of any new messages received.

Word Arena's settings cover muting the sound, customizing your player name, turning on/off push notifications and title screen background, and how you accept player messages. You basically have the choice to accept messages from everyone or just from those players you tag as friends. You tag players as friends from the leaderboard and your friends list can be managed from a page in the round summary hub.

In playing Word Arena, the app ran smoothly with no bugs, glitches or crashes experienced. Game play was challenging and has an addictive quality to it. Who knew so many words could be generated from sixteen letters.

If you like Wordament, I think you'll like Word Arena just as well. It shares the same game play concept but gives you the ability to chat amongst the players and with Live Tile support, you can keep track of your incoming messages better.

Word Arena is scheduled to be a free, ad-supported game on the Marketplace and it is our understanding the game should be available any day now. Once a Zune Link becomes available, we'll add it to the post.

Update:  We have been contacted by You vs. The Internet, Wordament’s developer, and have been informed that there is a legal dispute that may effect Word Arena’s release.  At this point, it is uncertain when or if Word Arena will make it to the Marketplace.

George Ponder

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • What a bummer. Looks identical to Wordament. Hope it's safe.
  • Word Arena is already in the Marketplace. The gameplay is the same as Wordament but its much smoother and faster. Wordament lags in between games or even during breaks. Several times I got lesser time than 2:00 but no such issues with Word Arena. One reason for the lag could be the large number of players on Wordament while Word Arena would be having very few as its just released. Moreover, words seem to be little easier in Word Arena.
  • I never even thought of looking in the Marketplace as according to WPC it's not yet there, but you're right it's there. I Like It!
  • Having problems getting it to change and remember my username though.(Got there eventually)
  • Looks like a total rip-off of brilliant Wordament - I hope it WILL be banned!@Hotmail Alias - never had a single issue like that with Wordament.
  • I actually agree it's not the same as Wordament. The gameplay is just as similar as Wordament is to Boggle. I like how Word Arena has the chat feature. I've been a Wordament player for a while and had the urge to message those people who rank always in the top 5! Now I can :-)Also, in my opinion, I think the "Friends" feature in Word Arena is so much better than "Frenemies"
  • Hi guys,We created the game because we're big fans of word games. I assure this Boggle-style gameplay against other people is nothing new. I encourage you all to read our blog entry here:http://z-games-studios.com/2011/07/24/reviews-of-word-arena/We took the time to address these concerns and all the people leaving negative reviews without even playing the game and giving it a fair chance.To those who left fair reviews (whether it was good or bad, as long as it was a fair review), we thank you.
  • I know it's different than Wordament, but the claim that the GUI is similar 'because of Metro' isn't convincing. Many of the design elements are identical, including the icon on the games list, the 'Play' swipe startup button, the start screen, the overall coloration, the word list displayed after the game, and the loading screen, to name a few. That's not Metro design.Don't get me wrong, it's a good game, and has features that Wordament should have - the letter links as you swipe, for instance. I just get a bad feeling when two games are so similar that I'd almost have a problem figuring out which one was which from the start screen. It would've been quite easy to simply alter the design scheme of some elements, when it was obvious there was inspiration.
  • > It would've been quite easy to simply alter the design scheme of some elements, when it was obvious there was inspiration.They've done this, actually; the update is percolating through Microsoft's submission process now. Hopefully it'll be up soon.
  • Thanks for the comment Elyscape.Yes, we've changed the tile and added a "theme" pivot which introduces a different look and feel. Both themes are stil available (the Metro theme and the new one). If you are curious about how it would look, here are a couple of screenshots:Tile:http://zstudios.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/largedevicetile.pngGame:http://zstudios.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/screenshot23.pnghttp://zstudios.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/screenshot13.pngWe're hoping it passes certification soon.EDIT: Also, it'd be silly or foolish to say there was no inspiration taken there! Of course there was. What we disagree on is that we don't think it's a "total rip off" as some would call it. Not to mention the vast majority of arguments claim that their concept of mutiplayer live Boggle-style is unique and we're ripping that off. Needless to say, we don't think that argument is valid.Also, we're going to have a huge differentiation soon'ish - we'll announce it once we're ready to do so.