Puzzle games seem to be all the rage in the App Store. When Threes popped up, gamers flocked to it (and its clone). Puzzlers used to be the go to app for a quick gaming experience, but once iPhones became more powerful, arcade games started getting all the attention. Will games like Word Monsters keep newcomers interested? Or will they opt out for the popular graphically intense brawlers?

Word Monsters is the latest game by Rovio, the company responsible for the 500 different Angry Birds titles taking up an entire page on your iPad. Rovio also dabbles in other cute games, like Juice Cubes and Icebreaker, so a puzzle game with monsters isn't something that's really outside the box for them.

A concept simple in design, Word Monsters has players racing against the clock to clear a board filled with words from different subjects, like Fruit, Boy's Names, In the House, etc. But before you start that, it's time to create your own monster, which isn't as exciting as it sounds. At least not for adults. You can choose four different colors -- red, blue, green or yellow. More colors will cost you cookies, which is a form of currency in the game. You can then choose your body style, eyes, mouth... you get the idea. You monster makes goofy noises and waves at you as you're designing it. Pretty cute for kids.

Single player mode tasks you with trying to achieve three gold stars in each category. First you must get three bronze stars, then three silver stars, then three gold stars. Do this by picking a subject, such as Animals, then swiping the names of different animals you see in the letters that are on the screen. Your goal is to clear the screen as quick as you can. Points are then tallied up, and you're told how many stars you're given. I have no idea how they score the game or what my goal is to reach three stars. That bit of info would be helpful. Right now I'm just swiping like mad hoping for the best. Speaking of swiping, sometimes it wouldn't register my swipe, knocking off precious seconds as I tried again.

Word Monsters
Rovio Stars Oy

Once you've finished the single player experience (which shouldn't take you too long), you can play in the game's multiplayer area, which is the real meat and potatoes of Word Monsters. Join a league and battle it out with random Word Monsters players for supremacy atop the leaderboard. The leaderboard resets each week, so try and stay on top of the mountain for as long as you can. The more games you play and the more wins you rack up, the better your chances. It's like Bejeweled Blitz -- keep playing until you're #1. You can also connect to Facebook and challenge your friends, but I was solo in that dept. I guess none of my Facebook friends like puzzle games.

While the multiplayer experience is where you'll be playing most of the time, you'll be spending a lot of said time in that area waiting around for your opponent to take their turn. Multiplayer is asynchronous, so Word Monsters isn't something you can sit down for thirty minutes and play with others. Take your turn, then wait for the game to notify you when your opponent has gone.

Word Monsters
Rovio Stars Oy

Graphics looked sharp on my iPhone 5 and the game ran really smoothly. Load times were minimal and you can get into the single player game rather quickly. While I enjoyed not having to wait around, I did get bored after a few hours of playing. Even in multiplayer it couldn't hold my attention.

The music is cute and whimsical, but so are baby seals and you don't want to hear them wailing in your ear after twenty minutes. There was only so much 'ting ting ping ping boom boom boom' I could hear and I shut the music off. It almost felt like there was a secret code embedded in the score that would make you burn your own house down if you listened to the music longer than an hour.

Cookies and coins are the in-game currency that you can use to unlock more themes and monster parts for your monster. Purchasing more is optional, and I really appreciated that in-app purchasing options weren't in your face like other games. You want this stuff, press a button and buy some more. There's no nagging the player like a lot of games seem to do.

In the end, Word Monsters is a free download that will occupy your time for a few hours and then you'll forget about it. It's a good game, it's just not a memorable one, nor is it one you'll feel the need to keep coming back to. Kids might dig it for the cute monsters, but adults looking for more of a challenge will move on rather quickly.

This review was completed with downloaded copy of Word Monsters for iOS.

App Store Link: Word Monsters for iPhone & iPad | Rovio Stars Oy | Price: Free | Version: 1.0.3 | 34.7 MB | Rating: 4+

6.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating

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