Draw Something gets chatty with update

Apr 19, 2012
Games

Draw Something, the smash iOS and Android app recently acquired by social gaming giant Zynga mixes Pictionary-style gameplay with asynchronous multiplayer action. It received a much-anticipated update yesterday adding new social and gameplay features. The game has been topping the charts since its release in February with over 30 million downloads in the first six […]

Draw Something, the smash iOS and Android app recently acquired by social gaming giant Zynga mixes Pictionary-style gameplay with asynchronous multiplayer action. It received a much-anticipated update yesterday adding new social and gameplay features. The game has been topping the charts since its release in February with over 30 million downloads in the first six weeks alone. Expect it to move back into the top spot again soon; the new features are exactly what players were asking for, making an already fantastic game even better.

If you haven’t joined the hoards enjoying the cross-platform hit yet, it’s based on a simple premise. One player is given a choice of words and must draw a pictorial representation of it that will help the other player guess the clue from a jumble of letters. Think of it as charades with markers instead of gestures. The game is collaborative; you want the person on the other end to guess your drawing and for you to guess theirs. When you both succeed you earn between one and three coins each depending on the word’s difficulty and start a streak. If one of you misses you both start over and get nothing. In previous versions the streak limit was 99, but the update brought it up to 999.

Don’t panic if you aren’t much of an artist. Simple stick figures and some creativity can be as effective as a detailed full-color drawing. That said, the app has a decent set of basic drawing tools and additional color pallets can be acquired with the in-game currency. Some of the billions of drawings are eye-poppers. There are blogs devoted to the most impressive, but one of the best new features in the update is you can now save and share your drawings right from the app.

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The most welcome addition was the hardest to implement. One of the big selling points in asynchronous multiplayer games is internal chat. But integrating the feature into a game where words are not supposed to be exchanged was tricky. The solution OMGPOP and Zynga came up with is pretty clever. The chat option appears only after a drawing is completed and the message is conveyed only after the round ends.

As a total addict I was wary of what Zynga might change. I didn’t want to see the game become monetized or cheapened, but I have to admit I’m impressed. Zynga promised to retain both employees and the game’s vibe, and they started off admirably. I dread exclusive drawing tools or cheesy power-ups that can only be bought with real money via in-app purchases, but the final major addition – a much needed undo option – was added free. The only drawback to the update is that there is a lot of extra tapping to opt in and out of chat.

Draw Something is what a mobile game should be: simple, fun, and easy to play in short bursts. But be warned, once you start it’s really hard to stop. Good thing there is random matching along with Facebook integration to find teammates. I shudder to think what I’d do if I logged-in and it wasn’t my turn.

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Lisa Caplan

Lisa Caplan writes app lists and guides as well as reviewing iOS apps and games on various tech sites, most recently on her fledgling iPhone and iPad giveaway blog, AppTudes. She is thrilled to be joining the stellar reviewing team at Appolicious. Located in a balmy Montreal suburb, Lisa has an advanced degree in Creative Writing, and has had an Apple computer by her side since 1979! She is a talentless art nut, bibliophile and accessory junkie. Lisa looks forward to sharing her gaming addiction and love for all tech that promotes culture, communication, social awareness and education at every level.

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