Back in 2011, there was this little game called SpellTower by Zach Gage. At the time, it was originally designed for the larger screen of the iPad, but eventually made its way to the iPhone as the screen size grew.
I remember SpellTower quite fondly — people raved about it on Twitter, and I picked it up at some point because I love word games (I write for a living, it's only natural). The game has received updates up until about a year ago, though it still works on modern devices (I just launched the original on my iPhone 11 Pro).
But now we have the true successor, SpellTower+, and it's a new reimagining of a beloved iOS classic.
Back and better than ever
Bottom line: SpellTower+ is a great successor to a classic iOS word game. It adds five brand new modes, some new game mechanics, iCloud backup, new daily challenges, and more.
- Adds even more game modes
- New game mechanics add a twist
- Free to download and enjoy
- Beautiful user interface
- Easy to play but challenging
- Ads can be annoying
- Tutorials can't be skipped
It's the same SpellTower, but so much better
SpellTower+ for iOS: Features
SpellTower is a word game with a simple premise: there's a grid full of letter tiles, and you must spell out words with what you're given on the screen. But as you created words, new tiles would rise from the bottom of the screen, and if the letters went above the line at the top, then it's game over.
The original SpellTower featured six game modes: Tower, Daily Tower, Puzzle, Extreme Puzzle, Zen, and Rush. Tower is relaxing, and you just need to get the highest score possible with only 140 letter tiles total. Daily Tower is a new Tower puzzle each day. Puzzle adds a row of letters after each successful word you spell. Extreme Puzzle cranks up the minimum word length to give you more of a challenge. Zen mode is just Puzzle without any length requirements so you can play at your own pace. Rush mode is like time attack, adding rows of letters after a certain amount of time.
If you have an iPad Pro, you also get the extra Super Tower Mode, which featured a whopping 432 letter tiles on the board, and you would want to get rid of small words to get bigger 7-8 letter blockbusters to get the most points possible.
While SpellTower+ seems to have gotten rid of the Super Tower Mode, the rest of the original modes are still available. But on top of that, there are five new modes to enjoy: Search, Daily Search, Double Puzzle, Bubble Puzzle, and Blitz.
Search involves creating the best word possible with the star letter in the center — this word is the only word that counts, so everything else that you spell won't get points, but you can use it to try and create a great word with the star tile. Daily Search is a new puzzle each day in the Search format, so you can compete with other people for leaderboard scores.
Double Puzzle is like the standard Puzzle, but adds two lines of tiles after each word instead of one. Bubble Puzzle is another Puzzle mode, but letters in blue bubbles must be popped before they can be used in a word. Blitz is like Rush mode, but it moves much faster, and it eliminates the 4+ letter tiles so you can focus on spelling as many words as possible.
In addition to new game modes, SpellTower+ adds in some new game mechanics. There is now a gold tile that can double the point value of a word that uses it. If you use it in a longer word, or in a word that uses hard-to-use letters (X, Z, etc.), then the points you can obtain can be quite hefty. And the Bubble tiles in Bubble Puzzle mode cannot be used while they're in a bubble. In order to pop the bubble, you need to spell words adjacent to the bubble tile, then you're free to use that letter.
The Daily Search and Daily Tower modes bring in a new challenge each and every day, which only adds to the overall replay value. The only negative about this is the fact that it requires Game Center so you can compete with others on the leaderboards, which isn't something everyone wants. SpellTower+ also has iCloud backup so you can take your game data across devices, and there are detailed statistics for every game mode, in case you're a data nerd like me.
I can't stop playing
SpellTower+ for iOS: What I Like
I'm a huge fan of the original SpellTower, along with a few of Zach's other games like Ridiculous Fishing, Sage Solitaire, Flipflop Solitaire, and Pocket-Run Pool. So when I saw that SpellTower+ was coming, I grabbed it as fast as I could. When the game prompted me that there would be ads but I can get rid of them with the full game unlock for $5, I paid it without hesitation.
I thought that the original game had plenty of game modes, so with a total of 11 in SpellTower+, it's even better. So far, I've tried out all of the modes and while I have a few favorites (Puzzle, Tower, and Blitz), I truly love that there's a lot of variety, including daily challenges.
The addition of the gold 2x tile is also nice and makes it possible to get an outrageous number of points with good words, which I continue to amaze myself with. It gives you a reason to use that letter in a word that you may not have thought about before, so it opens up a lot of possibilities when playing.
With these new additions, I'm honestly having a hard time putting the game down. I like to play word games to relax, and SpellTower+ is definitely helping me relax while keeping my mind sharp. It's been a while since a good word game came out, and I'm glad to see SpellTower+ is back and better than ever before.
I don't need tutorials, yo
SpellTower+ for iOS: What I Don't Like
Since SpellTower+ is a free download, you're going to get a few ads every now and then. When the first ad showed up, I appreciated the game giving me a heads-up message, informing me that I could get rid of the ads and unlock everything in the game for $5. As a fan of Gage's other work, I bought it without hesitation. But others may not want to, and that's completely understandable. So the ads may feel a little intrusive.
I also didn't like that I couldn't skip through the tutorials. They're useful if you've never played SpellTower before, but if you've played the original games or standard word games in general, then the tutorials aren't necessary. It would be nice to see an option to skip through the mandatory tutorials in the future.
A must for word game fans
SpellTower+ for iOS: The Bottom Line
If you enjoy word games, then SpellTower+ is a no-brainer. And even if you don't usually play word games, SpellTower+ is so well done that you should give it a chance anyway, especially since you can try it for free. There are plenty of game modes for everyone to enjoy, and new game mechanics keep things even more interesting. And you can take your game with you everywhere on multiple devices with the new iCloud sync.
Endless word fun
A classic word game for today
SpellTower+ is an addictive word game for everyone. It's beautiful and has a ton of different game modes for variety. It's the quintessential word game for iPhone and iPad.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
You ain't seen nothing until you've seen these iPhones used as gate posts
The humble iPhone is great at doing all kinds of things. including being used as gate posts, apparently.
Tim Cook pens open 'Speaking up on racism' letter
Tim Cook has written an open letter titled 'Speaking up on racism.'
If Apple made an iPhone mini, this might be what it would look like
We're never short of iPhone concepts but this thing takes the biscuit. It's a sort of iPhone mini, but not. It's hard to explain, but it's awesome regardless.
These are the best ways to play retro games
While the NES Classic Edition is great for any nostalgia enthusiast, it's slate of 30 NES games aren't the only retro gaming solutions out there. Here are our favorite alternatives to the NES Classic Edition.