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THE NEXT WORDS WITH FRIENDS

Developers at a local multi-media company said its smartphone app has gained some traction after two months on the market, but they're looking to build on that as they plan to make the word game their flagship application.

The game is called RoJo WORD, and executives at parent company ZiggityZoom said the 99-cent app has been downloaded more than 20,000 times since its mid-November release. A large portion of those downloads came this month when it was made free for three days.

"We've had free apps before and you just don't see downloads like that," said ZiggityZoom CEO Kristin Fitch, "unless you're one of the bigger companies."

The Virginia Beach-based company develops family-oriented games, sells e-books and has other digital offerings.

RoJo is a timed word game that's similar in concept to Boggle. With a rack of seven letters, the goal is to spell as many words as possible before time expires. Letters may be used more than once, and the game picks up accidentally spelled words.

"It's almost like an action word game," said developer Kris Wright, "as opposed to 'Come up with a word in Scrabble, wait a day for your friend to play.'"

"It's a brain game," said Fitch, adding that users can track high scores and compete with friends.

One of the letters on the rack is red - or "rojo" in Spanish - and it doubles the word score every time it's used. The game can be played solo or with up to four players.

The app is only available in Apple's App Store, but Fitch said an Android version is forthcoming.

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Published on: February 1, 2013