Listen, I know there’s a very good chance you already own Draw Something. With over 35 million downloads and 14.6 million daily active users, you and your friends have probably been asynchronously sending doodles back and forth for weeks, now.
Well, I was late to the party. I’m here, now, though. Let’s go to work.Draw Something is basically hi-tech Pictionary with a few interesting hooks. Players take turns drawing pictures and guessing drawings. The drawer’s turn consists of selecting one of three different words, with a difficulty of easy, medium, or hard. The guesser’s turn has them trying to spell the word by using 12 letter tiles. Successfully guessing a drawing garners coins based upon the word’s difficulty level for both players.
New players begin with just four available colors, but additional color packs can be purchased for 249 coins. I found myself getting jealous of Mark A. Brooks ability to use “peach” skin tones, while every person I drew looked like they were on The Simpsons with their yellow skin. Working to unlock a second color pack became a driving force. This gives the game a sense of progress, something that was missing from “Words with Friends”, that feels great.
There’s a bit of a metagame built into Draw Something, something that people don’t really think about often when describing the game. Your relationships with people change how and what you draw, instantly making playing with random strangers less appealing than playing with people you know.
Some metagame choices are simple, such as choosing to draw a “Metroid” based upon if the person you’re playing against plays Nintendo games or “Primrose” if someone really knows their flowers. However, I found myself having some fun with the word “Snakepit.”
Knowing that Mark is an avid Metal Gear Solid fan, I went abstract and drew an awful Solid Snake with an arrow pointed at his nonsensically hairy armpit. It’s stupid, likely a waste of time compared to how easy it would have been to draw snakes down in a pit, but imagining him wonder what the hell he was looking at as my drawing took shape in front of him just gave me a sense of glee.
Part of the brilliance of Draw Something is that you get to watch your friends try to guess the pictures synchronized to your drawing. You can skip watching the other player guess the picture, but I like to watch. It gives you a sense of what works with a person and what doesn’t. It can also provide unintended laughs. For instance, even though one of my co-workers quickly recognized a drawing of “Pikachu,” he struggled to spell it because he’s never played the games.
The very limited screen iPhone (and iPod Touch) screen space seems like it would be a problem, but it adds a bit of charm to the game. You’ll find yourself unable to do exactly what you want, such as build to an answer using contrasts or comparisons, and then you’re stuck with the word and scrambling for an answer. To succeed, you will essentially have to distill each word into exactly what differentiates one thing from the next.
Draw Something has its fair share of problems, though. The current build has no way to purchase additional color packs outside of a drawing window. Then, once purchased, you cannot customize your palette. The game badly needs a customizable palette and a “hide” option for colors that you just don’t want on your palette. Finally, and this is the biggest problem, is that I’ve already had a handful of “repeat” words. Repetition is a fun killer for a game like this, and while I don’t believe I’ve had repeats with the same opponent, it’s frustrating that I’ve already drawn “Vaccine” three times in a week when I know there are literally thousands of words that I haven’t had a chance to draw, yet. In the end, though, these flaws are something that can be addressed in future updates.
Make no mistake, Draw Something may be the best reason to own an iOS device, yet. At ninety-nine cents, Draw Something provides the one of the best multiplayer experiences you’ll find in the App Store.
(Draw Something is universal and costs ninety-nine cents in the App Store. An ad-supported version, Draw Something FREE, is also available. Neither version supports GameCenter, but both feature Facebook Integration to connect you with your Facebook friends.)Tweet
About the Author
|Fade to Slack is a founding member of Delta Attack, an American expatriate in South Korea, and a true believer in the legitimacy of mobile gaming.
Keep up with him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Fade2Slack so he can justify having a Twitter account.
Fade to Slack has written 339 posts on Delta Attack.