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Review: SpellGrid reveals the hidden joy of anagrams with fast, addictive gameplay

For far too long, I've lived in a world of Candy Crush. It seemed like the perfect time waster, designed for quick games when you've got a few minutes to kill. Heck, I even managed to get out alive without ever paying for any extras. But something was lacking. I needed a better class of time waster. Finally the clouds parted, spilling bright letters forth. SpellGrid had arrived and my eyes were opened.

SpellGrid is a shockingly simple game that combines the best parts of Boggle and Scrabble. Players are given a seven- to nine-letter word with no repeating letters. The idea is to use the letters to quickly build as many other words within a minute.

This anagram-building game is tight, fun and forgiving. SpellGrid is just as much about word discovery as it is building high scores. A little checkmark appears while you're moving letters around to inform you that you've got a word. Sometimes you'll get points for words you didn't even realize were words until you're halfway through building an obvious answer.

The game's minimalist design is its greatest strength. Players are given a word and an infinite playing board, and nothing else. It plays fast and without distractions. Your scores are stored in the cloud, allowing you to compare your word counts to other people's scores. It even includes achievements through the Game Center.

Best of all, SpellGrid is free. That's free free, as in: not freemium. It's a perfect storm of quality gaming and quick playing. SpellGrid doesn't require a great investment of time, but you'll find yourself playing it consistently. I've played it while waiting in line at the grocery store and for about six hours straight on a Greyhound bus. With such high-quality, addictive game play I would be surprised to see SpellGrid stay a free app for very long.

If you're looking for a simple, fun, beautiful word game to pass the time SpellGrid is going to be a wonderful surprise.

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