I’m going to be completely honest here: I stumbled across Guess the News [App Store Link] and really did not have very high expectations for it. I’m not a really a huge word game addict and I thought: oh great, yet another word game on the App Store. I already reviewed Word Ace the other day and wasn’t particularly looking forward to reviewing Guess the News. Reluctantly I bought it and….woah. This is actually fun and very addicting. 30 minutes after I started the game only expecting to play it for 2 or 3 minutes I realized that Guess the News really is a surprisingly good word game.
Guess the News is kind of like a combination of Wheel of Fortune (minus the wheel) and Scrabble I suppose (again, not a huge word game expert so if the analogy is off, leave a comment and let me know), except the sentence you have to spell out with the given letters is taken directly from up-to-the-minute news sources across a variety of categories. Top Stories, Entertainment, National, Health, World, Sports, Technology, Business/Finance, Science, and Odd Stories (The Onion as a source for headlines for Guess the News? Priceless) categories coupled with always updating news feeds means that you’ll always have a brand new and current game to play with a ton of variety.
The really neat part is if the headline you just completed in the game interests you, you can read the actual article in between rounds or after you’re game is over. I suppose you could use that fact as an excuse that you are technically catching up on the news of the day instead of merely goofing off playing a game.
There are easy, medium, and hard difficulty settings so you can ease into the game if you’re not a hardcore word game player. In easy mode, expect most of the words to have letters filled in already and for each word to have the letters that make up only that word highlighted. In medium difficulty, you encounter completely incomplete words (however vowels have their positions revealed so it’s not entirely impossible) and the challenge ramps up nicely. In hard mode, the pool of letters you have to complete a word with can span across multiple words, adding another level of challenge to the game.
Like I said, I really wasn’t expecting much from Guess the News and its addictiveness really did surprise me. It is genuinely fun and addicting–you keep wanting to play more and more to see what the next headline and story are and to see if you can beat the clock.
If I had to complain about the game, it’s that a few times I ran into some headlines where the story text was blank and only displayed the source the story, so I had no real basis for which to make guesses about the words. Another minor quibble is that the top scores listing does not appear to make any indication about the level of difficulty a particular score is for.
The amount of visual polish present in Guess the News is truly outstanding. The graphics are crisp and clean with nicely smooth animations. Sound, however, is completely absent which is an oddity. That might be by design, however having sounds/music as an option could add even more to the gameplay experience if done as well as the graphics.
What’s missing besides the sound? Any sort of online leaderboards or social component (come on developers, gone are the days when you can release a game without such online/social features, especially if it cries out for them like Guess the News does), but I’m hoping the developer, FingerArts, keeps this game updated and adds such things, as Guess the News truly has a lot of potential.
Overall Guess the News is a great addition to the App Store’s selection of word games. Will you absolutely love the game if you’re not a word game fan? I can’t really answer that question for you since I do enjoy word games, albeit casually, and really enjoy this game way more than I anticipated. Good news (pun intended!) though, there is a Lite version [App Store Link] to try out before getting the full version to see if it’s something you’d like to buy. Be careful though, you just might become addicted! NOTE: Guess the News is currently priced at $0.99, however the developer has announced intentions to raise the price to $2.99 on October 8th, so I’d recommend trying it out and picking it up now if you enjoy the Lite version because at $0.99 it really is a steal.
Panappticon Verdict: 90/100 — A deceptively addicting and highly polished word game, Guess the News makes current events almost as fun as watching John Stewart on The Daily Show. Sound & online/social elements are missing and could really push this game to a near perfect score.
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