With hundreds of thousands of high quality apps populating Apple’s App Store, there’s never enough time to experience all of them, even with the best of intentions. But what makes QatQi stand out from other word games like Letterpress and Spelltower is its sheer inventiveness coupled to a breathtakingly beautiful design.
On the face of it QatQi – named after two lifesaving words in Scrabble – is like, err, Scrabble. But it is like playing Scrabble alone. In the dark. The board isn’t square here, nor can you see it beforehand. This forces you to think harder and come up with words that you’ve forgotten the moment you closed your copy of Harry Potter or LOTR. In return you score beautiful gold coins and get onto the leaderboard. There are moments when you have finished almost all your tiles and are left struck with just one or two letters that you cant place anywhere. Thankfully, the game allows you a fair number of Undos, which you will be using as the game progresses more and more.
On the iPad’s Retina display, QatQi is dazzling to behold, in a psychedelic steampunk kind of way. The tiles and board shimmer and pulsate, like emeralds in Smaug’s stronghold. It reminds me of Osmos, which is not surprising considering that they share the same game designer, Kun Chang. It is addictive, and there are moments when I just open and look at its visuals instead of actually playing.