Word Derby on iOS is Quarrel on horseback, and it's just as fun


From Words with Friends to Frankenword, the iOS app store is bursting at its virtual seams with word games. Players of all skill levels have options for both single player and multiplayer word game fun. While games like Word with Friends tend to be the stand outs in the genre, we found last year that there was a ton of fun to be had with Quarrel, a competitive word game that sees players given the same sets of letters and challenged to create the best word they can from that deck. Now, Chillingo has released an incredibly similar game to Quarrel called Word Derby, and--you guessed it--it's just as fun.

Word Derby can be played either head-to-head or in groups of four players as combatants take to horseback in a race to the end of the track. During each round, all players are given the same deck of letters and the same starting letter that's locked to the screen (unless removed with a power-up). It's then up to each player to come up with the best word with the letters provided,taking into account bonus squares. At the end of each round, the amount of points earned corresponds to how far the player moves down the racetrack, and the first to 200 points wins.

Just like Quarrel, Word Derby has an incredibly simple premise at its core, but the setup is just generally fun to play. Players can never claim that the game is unfair, as each player has the same letters to work with. That is, unlike Scrabble, you won't be stuck with the same awful letters round after round, and even if you were, your opponents would be as well, which evens out the playing field. At the beginning of each game, players bet Tickets (the game's premium currency) based on how likely they think it is that they'll win the overall game. These Tickets purchase power-ups during games or additional jockeys in the store.

Power-ups give the game a feeling of strategy, as they can be used to eliminate the locked letter at the beginning, add additional points to a single word's score or even offer up a hint of some of the best words that can be played on each round. Obviously, the more helpful the hint, the more Tickets it costs to purchase, so it's worth taking a second to plan ahead for unleashing power-ups. For example, there's no point in wasting Tickets on a Boost power-up when you're already far ahead of your opponent(s).
Word Derby is incredibly cute, with polished graphics and a menu system that resembles most of the other competitive iOS games that have been released over the past few years. You can have multiple games running at once, against either Facebook friends or strangers, and the game's only real problem is how quickly your Tickets can run out when purchasing power-ups. (Of course, you can spend real money on more Tickets too.) If you liked Quarrel, or are simply in the market for a rather unique word game that isn't just another board game, Word Derby is definitely the place to start.

Click here to download Word Derby Free on iOS >

Have you tried Word Derby on your iPhone or iPad? If you've played Quarrel, how do you think the two games compare? What do you think of this even playing field in word games? Sound off in the comments!

Originally published