Wordsmiths looking for a fun and challenging way to pass the time should check out GameHouse’s Acropolis. To play, you must click on adjoining tiles (each with its own letter) to form words. When you form a word, new letters appear in their place, and the tiles housing those letters turn gold. Once you’ve turned all tiles on the screen gold, you’ll proceed to the next level.

You can form words using as few as three letters, but you’re rewarded with power-ups and other treats for using five or more. Some power-ups add shuffle points, for example (allowing you to shuffle the existing board if you get stuck), or get hints. Others blast random tiles to gold, serve as wild letters, or give you extra turns.

Some tiles add challenge to the game: the triple tile, for example, turns gold only after you’ve used it in three different words. The tar tile reverts back if you use it for more than four words.

Successfully completing certain tasks—such as reaching certain point values, creating palindromes, and avoiding three-letter words throughout an entire level—will earn you special trophies. There are dozens of levels to explore, each more difficult than the last.

Acropolis is suitable for noodling around between meetings or during your commute—you can resume stopped games at the beginning of the level, and play in windowed or full-screen mode. Although the game’s sound effects and music are unremarkable, you can turn both off in the options menu.

You can download and play Acropolis before buying it.

The bottom line

Acropolis is a rare treat—a puzzle game built for wordsmiths. Best of all, it’s fun and challenging to play.

PROS: Lots of power-ups and challenges; plenty of levels to explore.
CONS: Adequate but unremarkable music and sound effects.
PRICE: $20
OS X COMPATIBILITY: 10.2 or later
COMPANY: GameHouse

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