Words with Friends (iPhone Review)

by on March 23, 2010

Game: Words with Friends

Developer: Newtoy Inc.

Available on: iPhone and iPod Touch (reviewed on iPhone)

Multiplayer gaming is an absolute must in any title nowdays, but when the platform is a phone it often seems less appealing. Whether it be battery constraints, poor wi-fi or 3G or just that it looks horrible; it just doesn’t seem to be done very often or very well.

Words with Friends is Scrabble(TM). It really is, no matter how you dress it up, this is a scrabble knock off. So why would you buy this when the legitimate EA published Scrabble(TM) is out there on the app store already?

Words with Friends Menu

Being free is a fine start, advert supported but not intrusive. After every move you see an advert which you skip and you are back to the game.

Also, this game has online multiplayer unlike it’s official competitor. Regardless of where you are, so long as you have an active connection to the internet via wi-fi, 3G or your home network, this game is online enabled.  There is no timer that demands that you make a move, you can decide to sleep on it and have a go two days later if you choose.

You can play it online against friends (you create a username and share with other friends) or you can play a random user somewhere far across the world. Playing friends is great but playing random users has a downside. If they are taking forever to make their move, you cannot resign.  The game claims to auto-resign if they don’t reply in a timely manner but having had a game running for nearly a fortnight and it still not be cancelled, well, I was left wondering how long they deem to be a reasonable amount of time for a move to take!

Local play is also included but the game doesn’t hide your tiles so you will see each others letters and therefore it removes some of the “fear factor”. Knowing you have left a triple word score position unattended isn’t so worrying if you know they don’t have the letters to utilise it.

Word with Friends In-Game

Rather fantastically, the game has push notifications so you don’t have to check your game every few hours; it will send you a text message to let you know it’s your turn.

The biggest problem with the game (and the reason I can’t give it a higher score) is simply the dictionary it uses.  I’m not sure where the word list comes from but it’s missing a serious amount of two letter words which are vital in a tight game.  Swearing is allowed in this version though and that can make for a humerous game with a friend, trying to out-swear each other.  Also, people who know the Scrabble(TM) board well will have to learn the board again as the triple letter, triple word, double letter and double word positions are in different places in Words with Friends.

Other than those issues, it’s a fairly straighforward game of Scrabble(TM) with the normal options of swapping tiles or skipping a go.

Scrabble(TM!!!!) is a game you either love or hate, but if you love it and own an iPhone or iPod Touch (that you can get on your home network) then you will most certainly want to take a look at the free version of Words with Friends. However, I would heartily recommend you support the developer by purchasing it for the rather cheap £1.79 (UK price, other regions priced similarly), if only to keep them interested so they add the damn words that are missing!

Words with Friends is an absolute must own app and, considering what £1.79 gets you nowdays in the world of gaming, it is also an absolute steal.

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