Although it wasn’t the original plan, Chantelle and I ended up spending the whole of last night locked in a deadly duel of Words with Friends, the Android version of the hit game from Zynga (the guys behind the super successful Farmville) which we had finally gotten around to installing and giving a go, Chantelle on her small Samsung Galaxy Ace phone and me on my Proline AK888-13 9.7 inch tablet.
First off, it is important to note that this is for all intent Scrabble on your mobile phone, the hook here being of course the fact that you play matches against someone remotely, each playing their turn and then patiently waiting until a push notification arrives to tell you that it is now your turn, before promptly showing you the soul crushing score that your opponent just managed to land by covering a combination of triple letter and double word score tiles! (Seriously, Chantelle made me cry more than once!)
Anyway, the interface I have to say is pretty slick and fairly intuitive, though it would have been nice to receive a help tutorial or run through on first load, just to get you up and running. As it is, we took a few minutes to figure out the interface, but once we got the hang of it and got our Facebook accounts hooked up, it was go time!
Like I said, if you’ve played Scrabble then you’ll know how the game operates. Given 7 tiles a turn, you’re tasked with coming up with a word using those letters that somehow links onto a letter already present on the board, with each tile having a value which in turn determines how many points you receive after placing your word. It’s pretty addictive and a good test of your vocabulary, especially when you begin to play around with trying to maximize your points by spreading your word over special bonus points tiles.
To win you basically have to either play out before you opponent (and score more than them), or you need to play until neither party can put down a word for three turns in a row, which in that case means that the player with the higher score wins.
The remote play function means that you can tackle multiple games against different opponents at once and if that isn’t enough to keep you busy, there’s even a in-game text chat function which allows you to taunt or congratulate your opponent.
The free version of the App is of course advertising funded which does get a little bit in the way, though you could of course purchase the upgrade to make the pesky ads go away. Also, I see if you feel like cheating a little there are some ‘abilities’ that you can purchase using real money, though to be honest they seem more like a crutch than anything else to me. Not cool if you’re using one of these in order to gain the upper hand!
Overall I have to say I quite enjoy Words with Friends. The form factor works well on both a phone or tablet screen and as a whole, the package is really well put together. Well worth it in other words.
(And for the record, I came back with my last tile to wipe out a huge deficit and sneak the win right at the end, right out from under Chantelle’s nose!)