Word Nut, like so many word games out there, is a letter scramble crossword game. You are given a series of jumbled letters and expected to find a specific number of words from them. As the board is crossword-like, each word you find gives you a clue to the next one. It is a simple enough premise, but it can get quite difficult – just not in Word Nut.
Word Nut is remarkably easy so far. I’m 150 levels in (halfway through Chapter 12) and have yet to come up against more challenging letter combinations. I have advanced from 3 letters to 6 letters, but the difficulty hasn’t changed at all. They are all fairly easy words to guess and very rarely are obscure words used.
The Difficulty Curve
That said, you can tell Word Nut is trying to make it harder. As with most mobile games, the difficulty curve is supposed to be a kind of upwards wavy line, where you will peak at the most difficult level in a chapter, and then drop down to a very easy one. From there, you will climb again to the next peak, over and over again. In the case of Word Nut, the difficulty curve is easier to spot. The developers seem to be under the impression that the fewer letters there are, the easier the level. So as the “difficulty” increases, so does the number of letters.
Though this may seem like sound logic, a higher number of letters does not always equate to a higher difficulty – unusual letters do. For example, LOVE has plenty of much more difficult combinations than say, FOLLOW.
A lack of difficulty might be a good thing for some players though. Not all mobile gamers download word games so that they have to think on their way to or from work, which is perfectly okay. There’s a reason match-3 games are so popular, why can’t word games be a part of that sweet Zen zone? Personally, I found it a little too easy, but I can’t deny that this might be a good thing for other gamers.
Progress? What Progress?
There is also no chapter screen to study your progress or see how many levels there are in the game. The game claims over 1000 levels, but again there is no way to verify this. You can see your progress within a chapter once you’ve finished a level in that chapter, but that’s it. This is not really a problem and doesn’t interrupt gameplay in any way, but it would be nice to see your progress whenever you like and to have chapters divided by graphical changes, instead of the same background throughout the entire game.
Honestly, it sounds like Breath of the Wild. This may be because I’ve been playing the latter in my free time, but I swear Word Nut uses similar music. The background music while you play is melodic and cheerful, much like the Beedle Shop music. It is looped, but it never really grows irritating. This is likely due to the lack of high-pitched notes and the longer loop (something like 10-20 seconds). Also, the pace of the music is not slow enough to provoke a feeling of sadness, or fast enough to provoke a feeling of urgency. The music sets up the perfect mood of relaxation for the game.
The sound when selecting letters is also quite pleasant; it can be described as a short jingle of approximately three notes – again, not unlike the background sounds in Breath of the Wild and more specifically, the pick-up item sound. The letter selection sound can get a little harsh if your phone speaker isn’t the greatest quality, but that can be solved by either turning the volume down or putting in better-quality headphones.
Pleasant Acorns Abound
Word Nut is yet another game where the graphics do not change at all, regardless of how far in the levels you advance. That said, the setup is pleasant to look at. The letters are on a wood graphic and a little more rough-looking than a Scrabble tile. The section where the letters are scattered in a vague circle is a blue-green fence. On top of the fence, and thus the division between the letters and the playing board, is a row of acorn leaves in green and yellow.
The playing board, where the found words appear in a crossword-like layout, is a light blue image of mountains, clouds, and stars. All of the icons are a dark brown, likely to resemble acorns. Altogether, this makes for a well-designed and pleasant look. The colors are not too bright and still contrast enough with each other that one aspect of gameplay never gets lost in another.
A Startling Lack of Ads
Word Nut, unlike so many other word games out there, does not push microtransactions with every breath it takes. In fact, Word Nut allows the player to get rid of the ads at no cost! If you watch five 30 second ads, you can have an entire 24 hours ad-free. It is a deal well worth making, as the ads will pop up every time you finish a level or dare to pause the game for a few seconds. The ads won’t hurt your phone battery too much, but you will see a significant difference in frame rate if you take the time to get rid of the ads.
In addition to a lack of ads, Word Nut also offers coins (used for hints) for every ad you watch. It takes about 5 ads to get a free hint, which is a little much but worth it if you are truly stuck. Even if the number of ads for one hint is a bit much, I do appreciate having the option to just binge ads instead of diving into microtransactions.
Word Nut features rewards for bonus words as well, though you must complete the next tier before the coins are given to you. So, you must find a certain amount of words not included on the playing board in order to receive the coins. At first, you only need to find about 5 words, but the number increases fast. I am currently at the 30 bonus word tier and let me tell you, it does not go quickly.
Especially with how easy the levels are, bonus words are actually a rare find. Even then, the reward you get for bonus words is always below the cost of a hint. I do not like this system, I would much prefer to receive a certain amount of coins immediately or after the level is done for each bonus word I find. Waiting until you fill a tier just seems like a lazy attempt to keep the player playing.
Useless Scoring System
Speaking of methods to motivate the player, Word Nut also features a scoring system – as useless as it is. You earn acorns depending on how many correct words you can find in a row. The more correct words you find, the more acorns you will earn. The score, however, does not matter. You are not timed and you are not given any rewards for earning acorns of any amount, nor are there any punishments for breaking your streak.
Oddly enough, I still felt the urge to keep this habit and do my best not to break a streak with a bad guess. In a way, this setup succeeded in doing precisely what it intended. Though I cannot deny how utterly useless the score is. The lack of reward makes the feeling of a word streak lose its luster fairly quickly.
Word Nut is Pleasant
In the end, Word Nut is a pleasant game. The graphics don’t change and the difficulty could be higher, but the audio is pleasantly melodic, the static graphics are well-designed, and the ads are blessedly unobtrusive and provide great rewards.
all pics are screenshots from the game word nut made for word-grabber.com