In a lot of ways, iAssociate feels like MadLibs for smart people. Instead of filling in the blanks for non sequitur hilarity, you fill in the blanks to make intelligent, logical associations, unlocking more of as you go. It’s an extraordinarily elegant concept, and it’s done very well.
Lest you get the wrong idea, the game doesn’t look or play anything like MadLibs. It’s more like what you’d get if you crossed Hangman with a spiderweb. You start with a single bubble with a word in it (let’s say it’s “yellow”) with lines branching out from it to a bunch of empty bubbles. You try to fill in the blanks with words associated with the first one (like “sun” or “submarine”), which then lead to more associated bubbles when you fill them. As more of the word map is unlocked, the associations frequently become more interconnected; for example, “clouds” and “rain” could both be associated with “lightning”.
I loved the idea of the ever expanding puzzle, and unlocking each new word was challenging, but also very satisfying. It definitely tests your brain to come up with new connections and stretches your ability to think outside the box. I also sincerely appreciated the change of pace iAssociate added to my set of puzzle games. There was no timer or any opponents to worry about, just a clean, minimalist puzzle to work through at my leisure. I imagine that if you’re a fan of crossword puzzles, you’ll love this app, because they share that same quality of intensely intellectual relaxation.
The only thing I didn’t really love about iAssociate was its graphic design. The interface was easy to use, but the font was small, and the color choices didn’t wow me. It feels very much like the work of a single person, and it’s lacking in the little professional touches, like a sleek menu and background music, to really make it shine.
That said, this is still a really solid puzzle game, one that can easily occupy hours and hours of your time. A little on the stark side, it’s both fun and easy to play. If you like word puzzles, iAssociate is an absolute must try.
Here is a video demo of the iAssociate app on the iPhone
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