“Pull-to-refresh” inventor launches new iOS game, Letterpress

There aren’t many young mobile developers that have the pedigree that Loren Brichter does. Which explains why a lot of iPhone gamers and design lovers alike are being so effusive about a seemingly minor iOS game release this morning called Letterpress.

Brichter is 27 and already has Apple(s AAPL) and Twitter on his resume and has contributed significant, but under-the-radar technology, to both. At Apple he invented a way to browse album covers by one-finger swipe. His next effort after that was a company called Tweetie, where he invented the now-popular pull-to-refresh interface as part of an iPhone Twitter client. Twitter eventually bought that company and made it the official iOS and Mac Twitter client.

He’s now self-employed. His first post-Twitter project, which he started when he left last year, is called Atebits. Letterpress is Atebits’ first iOS game.

The overall design is very spare. The goal is to beat your opponent at composing words based off of a set of tiles. You can take letters from anywhere on the board and use them, but your opponent can steal them from you too. The aim is to have the most letters once all the tiles on the board have been used. Players can have multiple games going at the same time, similar to Words with Friends.

His inspiration for the game? He and his wife were playing an iPhone game while waiting for a table for dinner and wanted a simple game they could play against each other, he told the Verge. Sure, most people would open up the App Store and start searching for one. But Brichter, being an iOS developer, decided to build one instead.

The game is free (but has additional features available through a 99 cent in-app purchase) and available starting Wednesday for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.