There are three variations of play in Flip Words 2. They all follow the same basic process, while having some interesting variations in the details. Your single player options are Classic mode and Strategy mode. Your online option is Party mode.
I started my game experience with Classic mode. I’m given a phrase and told what category the phrase is from and I have a certain number of turns to solve the phrase. I also have a bonus turn meter. Longer or higher scoring words add points to my bonus meter. When it hits the top, I earn an extra turn. I initially begin play with 20 turns. As the game progresses, I start with fewer turns. Eventually I’m really going to need the bonus meter to have enough turns to solve the puzzle. As the game progresses, you do get some bonus spots on the letter grid. Some are basic double or triple point values while others are free vowels. These free vowels spots are especially handy. You only have to use the letter within your word to have it count in the puzzle. Believe me, it can be tricky trying to start a word with “u”. When you think you know the answer you can opt to try and solve the puzzle at any time. If you have enough turns, you can instead choose to try and solve all of the letters by guessing words. If you can pull it off, this earns you a 10,000 point bonus. When the puzzle is solved, you are shown your highest point word of the game. In addition, you get a bonus score of your high word points multipled by every turn remaining.
I found Strategy mode to capture more of the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ feel. This time your play is based around tokens. Everything you do in the mode takes a token – from guessing a word to solving your puzzle. You get a few new features in this style of play. You have an option to buy a vowel, get a hint at the phrase, have the largest word in the puzzle grid pointed out to you, and to shuffle the grid. At the beginning, each option costs from one to four tokens, and this number does go up as the game progresses. You won’t have any free letters or point multipliers in this grid, but you will get some spots that earn you a token. I started my game with 20 tokens. Solving for every letter in the phrase gives a 10 token bonus. In addition, you get a bonus for each puzzle solved that appears to be based on a combination of your longest word for the puzzle plus your average word length. While I may have stretched out a game to try and solve the full puzzle in Classic mode, I give it more thought in Strategy mode. If I know the solution to the puzzle and I can see that the letters still missing are going to be tough to start words with, I’ll go ahead and solve the puzzle.
I liked the time I spent in Party mode today. Up to four different players are working at solving the same phrase. You each have your own puzzle grid to work from, but the other players see your submitted words and your starting letters contribute to the phrase. This mode does not allow you to guess the phrase while letters are still unsolved. You and the other puzzlers have to solve all of the letters before the game continues. This version did include free vowels in the grid as with the Classic mode. I liked that the Party mode kept track of statistics for each of the players. For each game it ranked the players for Best Word, Most Points, Phrase Letters (letters contributed to the phrase), and Most Words. I took a small bit of pride in that even though I generally didn’t have the most words, I did tend to have the most letters in the phrase. I supposed it helps to figure out the phrase and then pick your words accordingly. This is basically a mini-chat room in this mode also. There are some pre-canned phrases you can use, or you can type in text. My experience was mainly people saying “Hello” when someone entered the room, but not much chatter beyond that. It makes sense – why chat when you’re trying to solve that pesky phrase with the longest words possible? I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to see other people playing when I logged in mid-day. Trust me – there are some games with online modes where you never see another living soul. Flip Words 2 wasn’t like that.
Along with enjoyable game play, the makers of Flip Words 2 added another feature that is sure to add longevity to your play. You are almost guaranteed to never run out of new phrases to solve. There is actually a feature built in to the game to allow you to submit phrases. You type in your phrase and assign it to one of 15 categories. You also enter your name (or a nickname) that you want to get credit for the phrase. You get to submit it to HipSoft, where they have the final say before it’s added to the game. I know that new phrases are being approved all the time. Every time I start the game, it checks for new phrases. I usually have 30 or 40 new phrases waiting. It even tells me what percentage of the total phrases available that I’ve already played. I really like that I can contribute to the game, and even more I like that someone else’s eyes have to be on a phrase before it’s sent out to the world. Very cool!
In the category of fluff, there is a small selection of background art and theme songs for you to choose from. I experimented with some of the different themes – I enjoyed “Space”, but I finally went back to the default theme. The themes were nice enough, but I like a boring background when I’m concentrating. Some of the themes were just too pretty, dang it.
I found Flip Words 2 to be a fun and stimulating workout for my brain. I loved the relatively open-ended play option. I can chug along until my brain is tired. It’s easy to tell when this is happening, by the way, because I’ll gradually find myself only creating three letter words. At this point it’s time to give my brain a rest and come back to it later. Flip Words 2 is happy to accommodate my play style. I can end a Classic or Strategy game at any time and it’s saved right where I left off. I love a game that understands the needs of the casual gamer. I’m happy to let Flip Words 2 consume more of my free computer time. You should let it have a go at some of your free time too.