From the team who brought us the incredibly popular Pocket Planes and the equally renowned Tiny Tower comes Capitals, a new take on the word games genre that has taken the App Store by storm. NimbleBit are well known for releasing exciting polished games, and thankfully they have done it again with Capitals.
If you have ever played Scrabble or Words with Friends you will already be familiar with this type of game. There is however one big twist in Capitals gameplay which adds a level of excitement not seen in its predecessors. The aim of the game is to make words using hexagon lettered tiles and to, over turns gain on your opponents territory. You gain their tiles when you connect your colored zone with theirs through the letters you play. To be completely successful at this game you need to master the skill of both defending and attacking. Playing big long impossible words aren’t always going to win you games, instead playing smart words that take your opponents territory is the way it should be done. Unlike previous word games you don’t score points for playing hard letters like Z, X and Q. But these add a new aspect to a game. The tiles are randomly generated on the board when a move is taken, throwing random letters out on the new tiles adding a challenge to your opposing player.
The game is stylized to perfection, with simple graphics, animations, sound effects and menu’s. I really like how uncluttered the board feels making it easy to concentrate on the all important letters and on making smart words. The game is Free to Play, meaning you only have three lives at a time, without further investment through in app purchases. Everytime that you start a new game whether it be with a Game Center friend or with a random opponent, you lose a life. Lives regenerate overtime at one life per hour and are capped at three lives. So theoretically you can only start three games in the space of three hours. This understandably will annoy some users who feel like there should be more lives, I disagree with this though. The game is turn based meaning at times it is possible to have as many as 10 games going at once. With this there isn’t a need to have more than one life per hour, however, if you do want more lives you can buy 5 lives or even unlimited lives through in app purchases.
The game also has customization options allowing you to change the color of your territory on top of being able to alternate your icon too, this again can be purchased through an in app purchase. Despite the amount of IAPs, I feel like the game is completely playable without the need for them. In a week I have played over 80 games and I haven’t spent a dime. The best part though is being able to track your stats such as your win percentage and longest word. The only thing that irritates me is the wait for others to play their turn with them being given up to seven days to do so. NimbleBit is already working on improvements to the game including a ranking system that pits you against similar skilled players, an expanded word list and have promised even more additions in the future.
As I develop tactics and a catalog of quirky words I find myself enjoying Capitals more and more to the point that I am picking up my phone and playing a move every hour. The simple game style makes it easy for any casual gamer to pick it up, and although I might be early in saying this I believe that it could compete with Word With Friends in being the next big word game, and ultimately another hit for the guys at NimbleBit.
Capitals is available for free on the App Store.