Lexmee (iOS) review
Lexmee is a simple wordsearch game in which players are challenged to find as many words as possible in one of a variety of different letter grids, all of which are different shapes and sizes. Players score points for successfully locating words, and are awarded a rating of between one and three stars at the end of the game according to what proportion of the total available words they successfully located.
Playing Lexmee is very similar to other “word jumble” games such as Zynga’s Scramble With Friends. Players tap on a letter at a time to form words, tapping twice on the last letter to submit it, or alternatively simply swipe along the entire word to automatically submit it when they release their finger. There is no penalty for submitting an incorrect word. Submitting a correct word, however, rewards the player with extra time and points, and also adds the word in question to the “word list” for the game they are currently playing. The word list shows how many words are available, their length and what letters they start with. Solving certain words also displays “hint letters” on other words, allowing the player a better chance of guessing what other words might still be available.
To make the player’s life easier, they have access to an array of “gadgets” that range from revealing vowels to providing the player with a list of words to memorize and subsequently find in the grid. All of these gadgets are initially locked and must be unlocked using the game’s hard currency of honey. This may be earned at a reasonable rate through normal play, and may also be acquired via in-app purchase. Once a gadget is unlocked, it costs soft currency coins to actually use. Coins are again earned at a good rate through play, but may also be acquired by exchanging honey. The player’s rate of earning coins may also be doubled with a single “coin doubler” in-app purchase — this option is a popular one among both free-to-play and paid apps these days, and often sees a good amount of takeup.
Lexmee is a good game, particularly for those looking for a word game that lasts a little longer than the typically short sessions of something like Scramble With Friends. Given that the player earns extra time by performing well, it’s entirely possible for a single game of Lexmee to go on for ten minutes or more, and the game’s dictionary includes a variety of obscure words that even the most dedicated word game players might struggle to remember. In a nice touch, the game offers an optional downloadable dictionary function that allows players to tap on words they have successfully found and view their definitions, making the game somewhat educational as well as simply being a challenging puzzle game.
Social functionality comes via Game Center: each board layout has its own leaderboard. The game would have perhaps benefited from the ability to compare scores with friends or brag about achievements via Facebook and/or Twitter, but those running iOS 6+ can also make use of the new Challenge functionality for asynchronous competition between friends. Competitive play is something that is somewhat underexplored in the game — it would have been nice to see a summary of how one performed compared to the rest of the world immediately after completing a game, for example, though it’s fairly straightforward to bring up the Game Center leaderboards from the main menu.
On the whole, Lexmee is a good addition to the iOS word game catalog. Although its wordsearch gameplay is rather straightforward and conventional, its focus on providing a good experience for the single player rather than asynchronous competition helps set it apart from other offerings that tend to put a greater focus on multiplayer. Despite being free-to-play, its monetization is not obtrusive (though the pop-up adverts when navigating the menu screens start to grate after a while) and it’s perfectly possible to have a completely satisfying experience and unlock all the game’s content without spending a cent.
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A fun word game for iOS, with a pleasing focus on solo play rather than asynchronous competition.