Exactly as the name suggests, Owls and Vowels (OaV) offers a new twist on popular word games and features owls (not really sure why, they’re just there) and plenty of vowels. Like seriously, a lot of vowels. It’s essentially a twist on scrabble and word search featuring some cool new features and targets to hit in-game.
The premise of OaV is really quite simple; you have a board of letters with which to make words of varying lengths with the ultimate goal of achieving a specific target set for each level. This varies from using a minimum number of tiles, to spelling out a target word, in order to teach the owls how to spell it…for some reason. On the grid you must combine adjacent tiles to spell out words, with each letter having an assigned score, much akin to scrabble.
The interface is pleasant and easy to use and the mechanics are a very basic point and drag across the letters. The music is repetitive and annoying but oh so catchy – do yourself a favour and turn it off from the get-go or you’ll be hearing it in your brain for days. There is a fair amount of variety in targets to achieve but the levels are mostly identical, only the number of tiles given will differ. Combining a word of five or more letters will form a ‘bomb’ letter which will destroy all adjacent tiles and give a large point boost. Also added are the double word and triple word tiles on individual letters. With each group of 20 levels there will be a topic with a number of words that will gain you bonus points.
I had access to a pre-release version and there didn’t appear to be any faults or glitches in the app but I was subjected to a rotten advertising bar at the top of the screen on each level. It’s unavoidable without spending stupid amounts of money (AUD $5.99) and it’s a clear money grab from the developer. Not only are these ugly ads plastered at the top, they show you a video ad after each level. Additional in-app purchases are available, and as we’ve come to expect, they are overpriced and frankly, a rip-off. On top of this, to skip a level it will cost you AUD $1.49.
Despite the over-priced-yet-inline-with-industry-models in-app purchases and ad bar at the top of levels, Owls and Vowels is a decent word game that introduces some cool new ideas. Upon release today, it will be free to download and play and it’s a great little game to play in your spare time.