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Lettered blocks spell a new challenge for Tetris fans.
(Spectrum Holobyte Inc.'s Wordtris computer game) (Software Review)
Cathy Kunkemueller. PC Magazine. Feb 25, 1992.


Good news for Tetris groupies: Spectrum HoloByte has come out with Wordtris, yet another game to entrance your mind and fingers. A word-forming Tetris, Wordtris strains your ability to build words while it tests your luck and manual dexterity.

Wordtris ($44.95) plays like Tetris but with some new twists: Blocks drop out down into a well; you maneuver them around and try to keep the well from filling up. But each block now has a letter on it, and the well is half-filled with fluid. Falling letters push down on the ones below and form a crossword grid; each "spelled" word is removed from the well. Spelling out the Magic Word that is provided with each new level also clears the well of unwanted blocks and adds mega points to your score.

Wordtris is not as easy as you might think, so be sure to read the helpful hints in the back of the manual. Inadvertent combinations of letters can undo the best planning and the strongest vocabularies. Wordtris probably won't increase your vocabulary, either, since it relies heavily on those three- and four-character words (like cat and sand) that are usually overlooked in high-skill word games.

You can manually adjust the difficulty mode to one of four settings: Children's, Novice, Advanced, and Expert; you can also jump to a higher level of play. The variations among modes include such items as the minimum letter requirements for words (three or four characters), the number of letters in the Magic Word, and scoring. As in Tetris, higher levels control the rate at which the block drops. The Expert mode (alias the Give-It-Up mode) features blocks falling at a speed beyond any normal human reaction times.

Like any game trying for multiple appeal, Wordtris probably won't attract either word game or Tetris purists. The time needed to recognize possible word formations prevents the super-fast speed obtainable on Tetris. And the fact that the game accepts three-letter words detracts from intricate word forming, unless you master the proper strategy or alter the game's dictionary.

Still, Wordtris's more demanding play means that you won't suffer the intense finger cramps Tetris fans experience on their umpteenth level. I found the number of tricks to master particularly challenging. Just keep an eye out for the eraser blocks and you're well on your way to spelling success.

List Price: Wordtris, $44.95. Requires: 640K RAM, CGA graphics or better, DOS 3.0 or later. Spectrum HoloByte, 2061 Challenger Dr., Alameda, CA 94501; 510-522-3584.

© 1992 Ziff-Davis Publishing Company



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