Letterpress, a new word game for iOS from Loren Brichter (Tweetie) is quite simply the best new game to be released in recent memory. I won’t bother to go into the details of how it’s played here, but like any great game it is easy to pick up but devilishly difficult to master. (Consider a cross between Boggle and Reversi and you’ll get the idea.)
But along the addictive gameplay, Brichter’s app has a design so elegant that I often find myself just enjoying the way it lays on my screen. A few carefully chosen colors, a handful of basic shapes, and some stylish animations are all it takes—Brichter and atebits (his development company) have created a whole world with them. Tellingly, my first opponents and many of the game’s early adopters have been iOS developers and designers taken with the app’s strong identity. It’s at once classic and new, modern and familiar; the first time you open it, you’ll be struck by how fresh it seems, and right after that, by how intuitive it is. It’s seamless.
The app itself is free, while an in-app purchase will unlock some different color themes and allow for multiple games to be played concurrently. The only drawback is that (for now at least) Letterpress is iOS-only, and even then it requires users to use Game Center. I hope atebits expands the app to other platforms, if only so my Android and Windows Phone friends can experience it. It really is that good.