Word games are one of the more popular smartphone games in part because they can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Who among us hasn't spent some time playing games like Words With Friends, killed time with the excellent NYTimes Crossword, or checked out the plethora of word-building games on the Google Play Store?

With so many games retreading the same territory, it can be real hard for a new game to stand out from the pack. Word Forward accomplishes this by mixing the familiar word building elements with new challenging twists that require more strategy than you'd typically expect from word games.

The premise is very simple: you must clear a 5-by-5 board of letters by connecting tiles and making words that use three letters or more. The tricky part is doing so in a way that doesn't leave any letters stranded. Instead of a randomly generated board, each level gives you a set board to clear and there's something like 500 puzzles to work through.

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This game is serious business. Just when you think you're doing well by landing some big words, you'll hit a wall and realize you haven't planned out how to use the remaining tiles and be forced to start over. But first you've got five power ups at your disposal and they come in handy.

Each level gives you two random letters to swap in, a randomizer that swaps out all the remaining tiles on the board with fresh ones, the ability to change one tile to a letter of your choosing, and a bomb that lets you remove one pesky tile from the board. You also collect tile swap moves as you create words, which let you swap any two tiles on the board which can help you create bigger words and adds a good layer of strategy to the game.

Word Forward is a paid app with no ads or in-app purchases. If you love a good word puzzle challenge, this game is definitely worth your time.

Download: Word Forward ($2.99)

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