With 4 distinct game modes, multiple buddy-play/challenge options, and fresh daily and weekly content, the puzzles are infinite.

The Short of It

As makers of more than 400+ games, we are avid fans of the word game genre. But we weren’t happy with the current state of this lagging market which has been relatively stale for the past decade, so we took it upon ourselves to shake things up by creating a highly addictive word game. Built on the most robust dictionary ever seen, Wordlings is a collection of 4 distinct word games where you can play solo, or challenge friends and foes alike, with real-time competitive play. Wordlings is so addictively fun that it shot to #3 on iTunes’ Top 10 Word Games in the first 48 hours of release!

The Situation

The word game market has been at a standstill for years. Each new game that enters the market tends to be a regurgitation of existing games, with the only variation being design. Going a step further, the game play is uninspired…standard word game dictionaries max out at 8-letter words, offering little challenge or variation with repetitive play. With the lack of depth, and the general inability to level-up, the market is flooded with high abandonment rates and stale choices. Additionally, most word games offer one type of game per application…brain training games, multi-player word games, word puzzles, word champion challenges, etc…with little to no variety.
Enter the Smashing Labs team, a mix of Strategists, Designers, and Developers passionate about helping each other bring meaningful products to market. Driven by a concept presented by an SI employee, their collective mission became turning the word game market on its head.

Wordlings leverages character collection, power boosts, and currency systems more purposely than most word games, allowing savvy players to use different Wordling characters strategically for different game mechanics.

The Challenge

Since the backbone of any word game is its dictionary, we were perplexed as to why this necessity hadn’t evolved in the past 10 years. With player levels ranging from novices to Scrabble world champions, word game dictionaries consistently topped out at 8-letter words, offering limited capacity to challenge advanced users. When we began the development of Wordlings, one thing was clear, we needed to create a dictionary better than any currently in-market. By pulling in all existing dictionaries into one content ecosystem, we were able to cross-reference all words in the English language with their popularity of use, building the most robust word-game dictionary available. Boasting a range of up to 30 letter words, the level of challenge and depth of experience we could build grew exponentially.
With an advanced dictionary in the works, our attention shifted to the challenge of real-time, cooperative play. The overwhelming majority of word games are solo-play, with only one viable multi-player success in the market, Words With Friends, offering turn-based play. We became excited by the prospect of creating a word game experience that brought people together. Teams could challenge each other during meetings, dinner parties would turn into no-holds-barred word matches, and anyone connected in the same WiFi network could compete with a friend or foe in real time. But what about taking down your uncle in New Jersey, who just happens to be a New York Times CrossWord Puzzle whiz, and you’re in Portland? Players can challenge anyone in the US, in all 4 distinct modes of play, via turn-based challenges.

Our Approach

The player’s mission is to help the Wordlings…creatures from another planet who have conquered our language, then forgot it…unpuzzle our letters, words, and phrases, as they help you become the Master of the Word Puzzle Universe. As players move through the game they are encouraged to think flexibly and creativity about words. As words are unscrambled, Orbs are collected, which power-up Wordlings that help give a strategic advantage precisely when needed most. In addition to Orbs, tickets can be earned for hints and access to daily/weekly events and special tournaments.
Unique to Wordlings is Buddies Mode, which offers real-time competitive play via a shared WiFi network, versus traditional turn-based play that is found in most co-operative word games. With multiple buddy-play options and new content every day, the puzzles are infinite.
Wordlings leverages character collection, power boosts, and currency systems more purposely than most word games, allowing savvy players to use different Wordling characters strategically for different game mechanics. Also, unlike other word games, Wordlings has a modern art style, with flat design, geared to appeal to broad audiences.

The Result

Wordlings launched in the fall of 2016 and quickly became one of the fastest growing word games in the iTune Store. With a #3 ranking in the Word Game category within the first 48 hours of its release, Wordlings also ranked in the Top 20 Puzzle Games and Top 100 Free Apps categories, respectively. While targeted to a U.S. audience, Wordlings has been making an international impact with players invading the Wordlings universe in more than 175 countries and growing!

“We created Wordlings to remind us of the importance of our game design DNA and to experiment with the addictive, motivating nature of fun in a product that is 100% SI. We are also extremely competitive when it comes to word games and the intra-office banter for high-scores has been priceless.”

Brian Burke, CEO

Winning

  • Most robust dictionary in-market
  • Challenge friends in real-time with Buddies Mode
  • 4 distinct game modes: Twist, Findagram, Climber, Linker
  • Infinite puzzle play
  • iTunes App Store ‘Games We Love’ Feature in the Games, Word, and Puzzle categories
  • Top 5 iTunes word games
  • 4+ star rating on iTunes

Services

  • Strategy
  • Motivational UX™
  • Design
  • Animation
  • Development

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