Just as a disclaimer before starting off this review, I won this game from EA Mobile during their Xmas contest giveaway along with an iPod Touch 4th gen. This however in no way will influence my review here.
Scrabble is a popular board game from Hasbro that has been recreated digitally by EA Mobile for the iOS platform. If you don’t know what Scrabble is, basically you are given a rack of letters in which you must place on a board to form words. You play against others so it’s a very social game and you keep going until the entire pile of letters are gone. The winner is the one with the most points based on how much each letter is worth and how they are placed on the game board. That’s the over simplified version of what the game is.
In Scrabble, you can play 4 different modes. There is Single Player, Public Games, Friend Games, and Local Multiplayer. In Single Player mode, you can play on your own or with up to 3 other computer player with 3 different difficulty settings. This is a good place to practice but in all honestly, it’s kind of boring playing by yourself. The real meat of Scrabble is playing with another player and that’s where the other three modes comes in. I pretty much skipped Public Games because I’m not really one to play with strangers. It’s never a guarantee that they’ll finish the games you start or if they are cheating or not. Plus, I just rather play with people I know. That’s just me. I’ve been mainly sticking with Friend Games and Local Multiplayer for the most part.
First off, I started my Scrabble adventure with my wife. We first tested out Local Multiplayer which basically works by searching for other WiFi equipped devices. One device hosts the game while the other devices join up. You can play up to 4 players and this option works great for those which no internet connectivity, such as those who might be on an iPod Touch or iPad. In this mode though, make sure you are in range of each other because once you leave the area, the game will get dropped. Thankfully, you can reconnect to each other and continue.
We next tried out the Friend Games option. With this, you have to connect via Facebook in order to challenge any friends. Luckily my wife and I both have Facebook however, I’d like to see other options to find friends such as maybe linking it to Game Center or Twitter as not everyone, despite popular belief, has Facebook. This mode my wife and I play a lot. That is because we can play a game throughout the day while she is at home and I am at work. We’ll take our turns throughout the day. Scrabble has built in push notifications so each time she takes a turn, Scrabble alerts me so that I know when its my turn again. This is a great function which keeps me from having to constantly check the app to see if its my turn. What’s great about this mode too is that I can play against anyone who is on Facebook as well as they can play it through the Facebook game page. That also means I can continue my game on their as well without having to use my iPhone if need be.
Scrabble for the iPhone is faithful reproduction of the original board game. So far, I’ve been having fun with it playing against my wife, however there are a few pesky bugs that pop up from time to time. Sometimes the game completely crashes when reopening it to take your turn. It’s not a huge deal but it does mean that you have to reconnect to Facebook each time in order to reconnect with your current game. Another bug is that after making a turn, your move might hang on the playing screen. In this case, you just need to exit out to the main menu and reenter your game to correct it. Those are the two major bugs I’ve come across so far.
There are other games in the App Store that are clones of Scrabble and offer the same type of game. Games like Words With Friends or Words from PlayMesh are pretty much like exact clones of Scrabble but with some of their own unique features. I’ve tried Words from PlayMesh which is free to play, but the pop-up ads always seemed annoy me and the game was a bit buggy at times. Words With Friends I have yet to try. Scrabble in comparison to Words by PlayMesh seems to be more polished and the Retina Display optimization surely helps. Scrabble also seems to have more words in its dictionary which makes it much easier to play correctly.
I do recommend Scrabble for the iPhone however if you are a Scrabble fan. It’s the most accurate representation of the classic game and it’s a game your whole family can enjoy. What I really like most about it is that I can also play against friends who may not have it on the iPhone, but can play it for free on Facebook through the Scrabble beta game. It’s also one of the few games I can actually play with my wife that we both enjoy and one in which she consistently beats the living daylights out of me on.
** NOW WITH MORE WAYS TO PLAY & SUPERIOR VISUAL QUALITY MADE TO MAXIMIZE RETINA DISPLAY! ** Now you can start a game against a random opponent with a single touch (Facebook not required!) – or square off with friends via Facebook and enjoy the most social SCRABBLE game there is! Play up to 50 games at once – more than ANY other word game on the App Store. With additional NEW FEATURES, including sharper graphics designed for the Retina Display, America’s favorite word game is better than ever on iPhone and iPod touch.
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO PLAY!
•Play against friends via Facebook
•Play against a random opponent (Facebook not required!)
•Pass ‘N Play with up to 4 friends
•Go head-to-head via Local Network Play
•Take on challenging computer opponents, too!
PLAY UP TO 50 GAMES AT ONCE
Play up to 25 games against friends via Facebook + 25 more games against random opponents. Add it all up, and you can play up to 50 games at once. That’s more than any other word game on the App Store!
ENJOY A STATE-OF-THE-ART SCRABBLE EXPERIENCE
With HD-quality graphics made to maximize the Retina Display, every square on the board is rendered in sharp detail. The easy-to-use touchscreen interface also makes playing multiple games simple and fun. Shake to shuffle letters. Drag ‘n drop to place tiles. Pinch to zoom for a better view of the board. You’ll want to play as much as you can!
TALK A GOOD GAME WITH ENHANCED CHAT AND NOTIFICATION FEATURES
Socialize and stay in the game, too! With the in-game chat feature, the chat icon will blink when you have a message, and you don’t have to exit the game to talk with your friends. And when you’re not playing, you can get notified when it’s your turn, when a game is created, or when a game ends.
LEARN AS YOU GO WITH THE TEACHER FEATURE – NOW IN EVERY GAMEPLAY MODE
See the best word choice from your previous move with the fan favorite Teacher Feature. By popular demand this exclusive feature is now available in EVERY mode. So the more you play, the better you get – no matter which mode you choose!
IT’S EASIER TO ACCESS ACTIVE GAMES OR START A NEW ONE
With easier-than-ever navigation, wordplay fun is always at your fingertips! Start a game with one touch, and easily view and access games in progress. Plus, you can quickly get in and out of games in progress with Fast App Switching (for devices running iOS4 or higher).
LOSS FOR WORDS?
Get a helping hand! Use the in-game word list, built-in official SCRABBLE dictionary, or the exclusive Best Word feature to see your highest scoring choices.
ROCK WHILE YOU RACK UP THE WORD SCORES
Listen to and control your iTunes Library, and get the wordplay party going with friends and family.
[via App Store]