Mobile game of the week: Sleep Furiously

Dreams can be impossible to explain, but still make a strange kind of internal sense. So are the sentences you make in Sleep Furiously, a language game where the fun is in threading increasingly absurd sentences together, obeying grammar rules but few others.

"The results are really silly and can be totally absurd," Jen Helms of developer Playmation Studios tells me. "The name comes from the concept Noam Chomsky coined to demonstrate the linguistics concept our game explores: 'Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.'"

The game has a few modes: One in which you're challenged to get the highest score within a certain number of moves, and one where you chase the highest score within a time limit. There's also an "endless" one with no restrictions.

sleepfuriously1

I really like this game—it's a playful expression of a linguistics concept that fans of word games will love. I actually think the developers can go a little bit further with it—because the boards randomize, increasing your scores tends to feel like it has as much to do with luck as skill. Sleep Furiously could learn a lot from Bookworm when it comes to how special tiles, multipliers and secondary goals can increase depth for the player.

But maybe the developer will be able to expand the game if this initial version is a success, and it's still a great, thoughtful way for word game fans to pass their time. You can get it on the App Store or on Google Play for $2.99. KdzJ5B

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  1. This sounds like it's exactly up my alley. Unfortunately, I'm too cheap to be the first to dive in, even at just $2.99. So I'll just lurk here for a couple of days, waiting for some brief first-person reviews....

  2. That $2.99 was just burning a hole in my pocket, so I took the dive. Overall I would rate it only 3 or 4 stars; I find the selection of words somewhat limiting. Deconstructing grammar was never my strong suit, so I can't put my finger on the parts of speech that are missing, but it seems like the words offered fit into narrow categories.

    I wish it would retain my sentences (and their scores) for perusal after the game.

    The board could be larger and better connected. As it is, each word can only link "outbound" to four other words. If the words were displayed in a honeycomb, there would be six choices. Or little octagons would make eight (except they would not tessellate!). The additional complexity would make the game far deeper and more complex.

    Of course, some kind of play-against-someone mode would be welcome, too.

    I'm sure that I've tried valid sentences that it rejects, and I also constructed invalid sentences that it accepted. This may be partly because it displays a word thinking it can only be a verb (for example), but I'm trying to use it as a noun (e.g., dreams/dreams). I also think it does not check for agreement between noun and verb (it was something like "The players explores" that it accepted, though I can't recreate that now).

    Yeah, language is tough. I applaud the effort, and while I'll spend/waste more time playing this game, I eagerly await a more sophisticated offering in the same vein.

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