Word games and puzzles have become my choice of time killers on the iPhone. Particularly games that involve finding or spelling words. For example, Word Scramble 2 is a solo game that is great fun and former Blue Plate Special review. Words With Friends has not only become a method of passing time, but an obsession. It began innocently. I played a few games with random opponents. Then I added my wife, a fellow coach, two of my players, a few more teachers, some friends, Dan, Judie…you get the idea. This game has become the new rage in our high school and small town!
Words With Friends is basically a crossword game similar to Scrabble. Gameplay is simple. Take letters from the “tray” and place them on the board stringing together words. Each letter is worth a certain point value which adds up when played. Bonus squares add multipliers to letters or words and boost point values quickly. Understanding the rules and gameplay will come quickly even if the user has never played Scrabble.
The game itself is fun, but the UI makes the experience smooth and very “iPhone” like. To move the letters, drag and drop to the desired square. When a letter is dropped, the screen automatically zooms to that area of the board. To zoom without placing a letter, double tap the area to zoom or use the usual two finger iPhone gesture. Simple and intuitive!
The UI is fantastic and gameplay is fun, but the greatest part of Words With Friends is the ability to play any iPhone user. After picking a username, it is possible to give that name to any other user to add a game. Words With Friends had become quite popular among the teachers and students at the school so I have a large list of games constantly going. As seen on the above screenshot, play up to 20 games simultaneously. When the opponent plays a push notification will let you know it is your turn. (push notification had been broken but is now up and running again) Chatting is also included to allow for some competitive trash talk with opponents.
Words With Friends is available here in the app store for free with ad support or can also be purchased for $2.99 without ads. If you enjoy word games this is a must have! Just remember the warning when you are waiting for 20 people to play so you can make your next word. Just a bit addicting!
What I like: Intuitive UI and ability to play friends.
What could use improvement: I need a way to stop checking for turns when I should be doing something that is more productive.