Playing the word game W.E.L.D.E.R. can sometimes feel like looking into a bowl of alphabet soup and trying to write a novel — you know there might be a word in there, but does it have to be up to you to find it?
It’s a wonderful challenge. The tricky word-puzzler offers a game board full of letters and free tiles, and tasks players with rearranging the tiles one at a time in order to form words that clear the tiles off the board. The catch is that players only have a limited number of the letter swaps required to create real words, so every move has to be calculated.
That is W.E.L.D.E.R.’s best and most challenging feature. You don’t have carte blanche to start flipping letters all over the place in the hopes you’ll strike upon some word you’d never heard of. You actually have to carefully consider whether the pieces you’re swapping might lead to a word, otherwise you’ve just wasted some valuable word-making currency.
Better still is that the game gradually introduces you to different ways to make words. Eventually you’ll get to reverse a set of letters so a word that once appeared backward is suddenly forward and cannot be cleared off the board. Other tricks follow as you progress, and the game gets meatier and more challenging as you go along.
W.E.L.D.E.R. is a fun and challenging game. It doesn’t offer much in the way of hints or clues, and you could find yourself petering out on the first level a time or two before you get the hang of the game. It also doesn’t offer anything in the way of a multiplayer mode. For those reasons, it might not be quite suitable for younger players, but as an adult-minded challenge, it’s up there with the best.