Small Danish developers, Jaxel Studios, has recently released their newest app, Shuffle 5 for Android.
The game is a very straightforward 5 letter word jumble game with a purple color scheme and nice rounded tiles for the letters. In general, you click on the letters in the order you want them arranged and a buzzer noise will play when you’re incorrect before resetting the blank row for another attempt. If you’re having trouble solving the puzzle, there are five skips per round played. Your high scores show how many consecutive words you managed to solve and the score is based off of how long it took (and likely the number of attempts as well) to figure out each word. There are two gaming modes to choose from: Survival Mode, and Count Down Mode.
In Survival Mode, you have twenty seconds to figure out what each word is. It’s the easier difficulty game setting because twenty seconds is actually a pretty long time to try to figure out what the word is. When time starts to run low, a “yoo hoo” will chime with an arrow pointing at the skip button on the screen to remind you that you can keep going. In Count Down Mode, you have three minutes to solve as many words as you can. It’s better to play on the go since the time spent is predetermined, but it doesn’t give you a lot of time to get a high word count either.
There are a lot of words in each language’s dictionary, and seven dictionaries, for a large variety in gameplay. I haven’t gotten any word twice yet. However, variations of non-5 letter words are common. There are a lot of plurals and different tenses used in order to reach 5 letters, so when you’re trying to figure out what the word is, keep that in mind.
There are two issues I had with this game. The first is that the screen is partially cut off when I play. The newest update for Shuffle 5 on Google Play says that that’s being worked on, so I’m going to assume that either it hasn’t been fixed with the version I was given, or Jaxel Studios is still working on straightening it out. Either way, it’s not too much of a problem. I can still play the game fine; it just makes it more difficult to return to the main menu and view your high score. If you’re curious, I played using a Samsung Galaxy S3 and the sample playing was done with a tablet.
The other issue I had was that there isn’t a difficulty meter for the game. There isn’t any sort of progression in difficulty, or a level to choose to play with. Because of this, I’ve often started playing a round and had to skip the first few words immediately, but after struggling, then I can answer several in a row with ease. I would appreciate some sort of progressing difficulty when playing, or an ability to choose a level of difficultly to play. It’s entertaining to unscramble the words, but there isn’t a strong flow between words.
For what this game is, I think that it’s very well done. The sound effects are appropriate, and the “yoo hoo” in survival mode is cute. It’s better suited for more advanced word jumble fans, but still enjoyable for all levels.
It also stands out from other word jumble apps because it has a neat development story that you can use to talk about the game with other people. You can read it here.