If you haven't heard of Draw Something yet, we hope the box you're living in is extremely comfortable. This mobile game is the latest craze to have hit mobile phones, since Angry Birds and according to SFGate, it has more than 35 million people playing currently. This game is Zynga's wet dream, so much so that Zynga even bought the developer, OMGPOP for $210 million. The game is social, but has managed to round up some of the more anti social gamers I know. It started out as a Facebook game and made its way to mobile.
The design of the game is very simple and aptly social gamey. The fonts are large, colours are bright and the package is one of all round fun. If you're playing the game on a phone, you'll find the drawing space to be a little annoyingly small and when you see a picture from someone else, the tile space sometimes covers up the lower section of the image. That being said, this app is awesome and at this point, I'm going to move on to gameplay to talk about why.
Your main menu
Draw Something essentially is a mobile version of Pictionary. The difference is, the gameplay is symbiotic. You basically create a game with someone you know by their username or by connecting to Facebook. You can also choose a person at random. The game begins when one of you has to draw. You will be provided with a choice of words to draw. The first one will be easy and if the other player guesses it right, then each of you gets a coin. The second word is medium and is worth two coins. And finally, the third word is difficult and is worth three coins. You choose which word you want to draw and you're taken to the drawing pad. You're provided with a pencil and four colours (black, red, yellow and blue) and you have to use those to draw words like “floss”, “polkadot” and “bonfire”. The number of tries to guess a word is unlimited, but if you want to give up, there is a 'Pass' button.
The Draw pad
After you finish, the other player has to guess the word. They have tile space and tiles to guess what the picture is. They also have a bomb that will remove tile options provided they are not in the word to be guessed. Once they guess right or they pass, it's their turn to draw. You keep building 'turns' with the same person and each time you've hit a higher turn than before, the app will tell you that your partnership has reached a new record.
To guess the word
Which brings me to the interesting part of this game. This game is symbiotic. Take the case of Farmville. It was Zynga's hit social game, which essentially made you compete against your own achievements. The incentive to compete was that you would get more resources to play with. Then take the case of Words With Friends. It's essentially mobile Scrabble played between two people. Both people are trying to get the Triple Word scores and block the other person. With Draw Something, it would have been so easy to make the game, so that it's competitive between two people and that is what one of the earlier versions of the game was. Rather, the game makes you partner up with the other player and play against yourself. If you guess what they draw, you both win coins. And vice versa. You're playing against yourself because you want to make your drawing better. For one, it helps your 'opponent' guess the word easier and you both get your coins. And more importantly, it's a show off factor to have been able to draw using your finger on a screen so well.
Symbiotic relationship: you both get the winnings
The game is insanely addictive and I find myself creating more and more games with random people just so I can keep playing. However, the gameplay is extremely conducive to cheating. That's if your writing is legible enough when you're dragging your finger across a screen. Think about it. The gameplay has you winning when you're opponent wins. There's no one to stop you from simply writing out the word, so you both rack up the coins. That's when you also have to ask yourself why you're playing.
This game can either be played by connecting with Facebook or by entering an e-mail address. That in itself is a little annoying because it doesn't help if you don't want Zynga to have access to your information. I personally use my handy dandy e-mail address that I don't use anymore for this game. Furthermore, like other annoying social games, there are in-app purchases to buy more coins that can be used against buying bombs for guess tiles and for more colours to use when you're drawing.
The bomb shop
The game currently only allows you to play with one person at a time and what's cool is, it records the process of actually drawing images, so the other player can see the drawer drawing in somewhat 'real' time. It also records the guessing moves by the guesser, so the drawer can see what else the picture may have been and improve his or her skills, accordingly. Needless to say, the game requires a connection via GPRS/3G and/or Wi-Fi to work.
Video of 'partner' guessing word
The words include some pop culture references, even though the game is universal. For instance, one of the words I got was “Ellen” and the currently most popular Ellen out there is Ellen deGeneres. However, my partner did not know who that was. The game also includes words like Elvis, Simon (presumably Simon Cowell) and Conan (either the Barbarian or O'Brien, your call). Sometimes you'll have to draw a country like Korea or Japan. You will find that the dictionary is limited and you will often get repeat words. It's also really 'expensive' to buy bombs and colours. It's 249 coins to buy a set of five additional colours and 400 coins to buy ten bombs (each of wich you can only use once). When the maximum number of coins you can have in each round is 3, it takes a while to build up. However, the game is addictive enough that you will build up those coins eventually.
The shop of colours
The way to resign a game is in the menu, you swipe on the game with the person you want to delete. A delete tab will appear and you can then leave the game. Of course, the other way to do it would be to just not play the person. Also, when you know someone has finished their turn, it doesn't always show up on your menu rightaway and there's no way to refresh your feed. Another nice thing is that the game isn't sensitive to the device's accelerometer, so if you need to turn the phone to shade a difficult corner, the app will stay vertical.
The game is downright addictive. It might be a little too early to say how long the addiction will last. The fact that the game is symbiotic gives it a different edge and will keep players joining and coming back for more. Finally, it's your chance to get down to some artwork without having to go to the store for crayons and paper. Draw Something is available in free and paid versions (Rs.50 approx) for iOS from the App Store as well as free and paid (Rs.50 approx) on Google Play. You can also play the game on Facebook for free.
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