There are 3 modes of play in this game: Practice, Game Show and Competition. Practice will give you 25 words to spell, and it will take you through the session 3 times. Hopefully you will be able to spell all the words correctly by the third time. In all three modes you are able to choose from Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. A commentator gives you the word, and you have 4 options before spelling it. You may ask to repeat the word, give you a sentence, definition, or origin or get all 4 hints. I found that repeating the word and the definition helps you the most unless you know Latin or then the origin may aid you in correctly responding. The sidebar will show all your correct answers in green and the misspelled ones in red.
The Game Show mode is probably the most interesting since you can win money and have helps besides the 4 hints available in Practice mode. They are Pass to skip the word, Uniques will give you letters jumbled, 1st letters give you the first 3 letters of the word, Consonants gives you only the consonants, Vowels gives you just the vowels, and Word Choice will offer you 4 words to choose the correct spelling. You have the option to play up to 200 rounds of spelling for this mode, and you can win from $100 to $1000.
In the Competition mode you may add up to 7 players to compete against you and will bring up each player through an underground elevetor to the podium. The most difficult part of this section is that you cannot redo your typing. You must get the spelling correct the first time you type it on the board.
In between the game levels there are Speed Rounds where you spell as many words correctly in 1 minute. Here more than any other part of the game you need to have excellent typing skills in addition to outstanding spelling prowess. I found this section to be the most exhilarating.
I found this word game very interesting. I think it can improve both your spelling and typing abilities in a fun way. The difficulty levels are appropriate, but not even close to the National Spelling Bee tournament (luckily), and the beginner’s level is too difficult for young children but should be fine for 8 year olds and up. The intermediate level includes a few commonly used foreign words, and the advanced incorporates even more esoteric vocabulary. I thought it was curious to use the same words in the different modes. For instance in the advanced Game Show level they used the word liege and it came up again in Competition. I’m sure all you RPG players can spell this word easily.
With spell check available everywhere, there appears to be no need to have a strong spelling skill, but everyone will take pride in spelling well in this fun and educational Mac game. This game is not for everyone, but if you are into word games, this one is different enough to make it appealing and entertaining.
Features of Merriam Webster Spell-Jam:
- Fun Game play
- 3 Modes: Practice, Game Show and Competition
- Multi-player game play