Log in

Game Reviews, News, Guides, and Humor

Review: Draw Something (iOS)

Monday, April 2nd, 2012 by

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.)

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 352 posts on Delta Attack

6 Responses to “Review: Draw Something (iOS)”

  1. Mark A. Brooks says:

    Almost considered getting a fine-point stylus for this game. Okay, okay, I totally would have bought it if the wife hadn’t given me the look of disapproval when I priced them out on Amazon. For the record, a decent fine-point will run you about fifteen bucks.

    It is great fun, I was stubborn to pick it up but wished I would have earlier.

    Were you aware of the word exploit? My sister clued me in to this, but if you don’t like your choice of three words, close the app then boot it back up. Poof! Three new words. Feels a little like cheating; probably because it is.

    • Fade to Slack says:

      I had a soft-nub stylus, but I’m fairly certain that it was thrown away by someone in the family who had no idea of what it did. It figures, I buy something then realize I have no use for it only to lose it when I finally find a use for it.

      You realize, sir, if you buy a stylus that you’ll need to pick up a second one for the missus, right? It wasn’t a look of disapproval; it was a look of “make sure you get me one, too.”

      • Fade to Slack says:

        Oh, and I had no idea about the exploit, but I’m going to play it straight for now. I know you can also change who you draw a word with if you force the game to re-connect to Facebook. That might help if we get nerdy words like “Metroid” in the future.

        Also, yeah… sorry about “Snakepit.”

        • Mark A. Brooks says:

          Naw, man. I love the snakepit. Also really liked the MTV one you did, with the iconic moon guy from the old commercial.

  2. Markham Asylum says:

    This looks somewhat different from Draw My Thing, the forerunner on OMGPOP.com. I take it there’s no time limit, right? In DMT, you get 60 seconds to draw your word, with other people watching in real time and trying to be the first to guess; the first person gets 3 points, and anyone else that guesses it before time runs out gets 1 point. As such, your drawings are hectic and hurried. Your Snake and Conan, by contrast, look outstanding.

    This looks like a lot of fun. I’ll surely get it when I snag an iPod Touch in ~4 months.

    • Fade to Slack says:

      No time limit, though Mark’s Conan didn’t take that long. I snapped the picture after guessing the word, and they show you the final drawing afterwards.

      Good to know there were some changes, but I now want to keep every drawing near that one minute time frame in the future.

Leave a Reply