My Thoughts on Word Trip (And Mobile Games in General)

Word Trip, while fun at first, discourages players from playing long-term.

I rarely play mobile games, with my beloved Andoku Sudoku app being the sole exception. But in Spring 2021, I decided to give Word Trip a try — it’s a free to play word puzzle game developed by PlaySimple Games. The game gives you up to eight letters, and you need to figure out all the different word combinations these letters create. 

At first, the game was fun. I had no performance issues. The word puzzles started off easy and slowly ramped up in difficulty. I usually played with airplane mode on, so I didn’t get any ads. WordTrip has mini-games, bonus puzzles, and spelling bees. They had a spin-the-wheel feature where you could get extra coins, free hints, bonus letters, or they would even complete the puzzle for you, if you were lucky. The more I played, the more I realized the game discouraged players from playing as they progressed. 

When you first start playing, you need to complete 20 puzzles to complete an area. Then that number increases to 40 the farther you get in the game. The time spent playing is not worth the reward received in game. I noticed there was inconsistency in the game’s dictionary on how certain words were accepted. For example, the word ass would be accepted in some puzzles, but not in others. They removed the option of getting a completed puzzle from the spin the wheel mini-game, replacing it with a five-minute timer to buy 50% off coins. The game encouraged players to purchase coins to receive hints to help solve puzzles, which got harder to solve without them. They put bonus puzzles behind a paywall, and the spelling bee stopped giving me coins. The few times I played with airplane mode off, the ads were ridiculous.

The final straw was a series of updates in February 2022 that made the game unplayable. Literally — my phone would crash every time I launched the app. I stopped playing a few weeks later in March. 

As you can see from the screenshots, I was in the .09% of players who had progressed to Croatia. I had 10,449 coins, all earned via game play (no purchases). I was far into the area of the game where most players would have quit, which probably makes me out of the realm of their average player base.

Since I was going to uninstall it, I removed the data first, resetting it, to see if the game would work. It did. Imagine if I invested money in the game, it updated, and I could not play it?

Playing Word Trip reminded me of why I don’t like playing mobile games in the first place.  They usually have annoying mechanics added to encourage players to purchase a way to circumvent the annoying mechanic — like paying a monthly fee to avoid annoying and privacy invading ads. Maybe there are some mobile games that don’t do this, but finding a really good one is challenging. I guess for now, I’ll just stick with Andoku.

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