The App Store has tons of great games that help us make words better good. But these words games aren't grey-flavored educational apps that are poured down your throat like so much Soylent; many of them are snappy, uniquely challenging, and are even packaged with engaging stories.
Here is a host of great word games on iOS. Higher-scoring substitutes for "host" include "group," "cluster," and "assembly."
Moldicide ($1.99 USD)
Moldicide by Sprouted Interactive challenges you to spell for your life. You play as Chao, a janitor who's the only survivor following a lab accident that turns everyone around him into blank-eyed zombies. Chao arms and utilizes guns, flamethrowers, and other weapons by entering passcodes, which basically amounts to spelling words. The longer the word, the more powerful the punch. Beware: you can't use the same letter twice, and those zombies are pretty hungry.
NimbleBit's Capitals is a game about elbowing your way into enemy territory using the power of your vocabulary. Part chess and part Othello, you spell words in Capitals in order to build a wall around your own titular capital -- and to tear down your enemy's base as well.
Matches in Capitals tend to be short, brutal, and devilishly fun. Even if you think you've "got this," it can be fatal to let your guard down. One minute you rule the world; the next minute you're sweeping the streets of some other schmoe's capital.
Currently in soft-launch on the Canadian and New Zealand App Stores, Alphabear is more than a game about spelling words; it's also about collecting adorable teddy bears. These teddy bears grow as you clear the playing field of letter tiles, and when the last letter is used up, you're awarded a point bonus according to the size of your bears.
But if you don't use those tiles quickly enough, they turn into stone and box the bears in, stunting their growth. Inside every teddy is a grizzly yearning to break free. Don't keep them contained in a small concrete pen. In other words, spell quickly, spell smartly, and make your bears grow.
Highrise Heroes (Free)
Spelling for survival seems to be a theme on the App Store, and that's A-OK. Highrise Heroes from Noodlecake revolves around spelling words to clear away rubble, so that a passel of corporate cogs (plus a monkey) can slowly make their way downstairs and to freedom following a building collapse.
It's harder than it sounds. There are traps everywhere, crumbling stones, and the air supply is limited. You need to spell quickly, and spell well. Maybe you'll get to the bottom of the eerie goings-on surrounding your crew, too. That was no ordinary quake that caused everything to come down.
You score points in NimbleBit's Letterpad by finding words that relate to a particular topic. For instance, what do you think when you hear the word "Tennis?" "Ball" and "Net" might be acceptable words to submit. How about "Pizza?" "Cheese" and "Sauce" are both good.
How about "Pac-Man?" Well, "Yellow" and "Dot" are good choices, but "Serial murderer of ghosts" probably won't fit.
Words With Friends (Free)
Words With Friends was the go-to Facebook word game, and that fact hasn't changed since the game moved to mobile. It's essentially Scrabble with some rule changes, but the core rule applies: Spell words horizontally and vertically to rack up points. For a personal satisfaction bonus, use the ever-annoying "Qi" to stymie an opponent who was one move away from a triple-word score.
SpellTower has withstood the test of time, thanks to multiple game modes that are all easy to dive into with minimal instruction. You spell words by dragging your finger vertically, horizontally, or diagonally across a big ol' stack of letters.
SpellTower's "Puzzle Mode" works a bit like a modification of Tetris (but not quite like Wordtris, interestingly). As you spell out words, the jumble of tiles gradually begins to climb up the screen. If the pile touches the top, it's game over. Don't let anything get in between you and your spelling.
Sleep Furiously ($2.99)
Unlike most word games on the App Store, Sleep Furiously isn't about building words. It's about building sentences. You're presented with a large grid of random nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions. All you have to do is link those words to make sentences. The catch is, those sentences have to make sense.
Even that single rule isn't enough to let the man ruin your fun. While your sentence needs to be whole from a grammatical standpoint, it can still be completely off the wall. So if you want to spell out "Aardvarks dreamed furiously of green pancakes," that's totally legit, since all the pieces are in place.