Social Art Android-Style with Draw Something [Game Review]

February 17, 2012 | by Jamie Maltman

Android App Reviews, Android Apps, Android apps, Android Games, Casual, Reviews, Social, Social


Evaluated version: 1.0.30

Pros: Smooth Interface, Fun Game, Random Player Option

Cons: Loads a Bit Slowly, Back Button Can Exit Too Easily, Stability Issues

By now everyone has tried some variation of Words With Friends and the ubiquitous X-Ville games. Draw Something could be the social game for you if farming isn’t your thing, and seven letter vocabulary is not your strong suit, but you think your pictures are worth a thousand words.

Based on the general premise of Pictionary, you team up with a friend or random player so one of you can create a picture for the other to guess correctly. Similar to Words With Friends, you can play your turn whenever you’re available, rather than trying to keep you both online. Which is a good thing both not only because it lets you play multiple games at once, but also to protect you from the force closes that popped up more than a few times in my experience so far on both the phone and tablet version.

You login using your e-mail address as your name, or can shortcut by linking with Facebook, which is handy for finding friends to play with, whether they’re on Android or Apple. You can also find friends by e-mail, Twitter or username or ask the game to find you a random opponent.

Whoever started the game gets to draw first. Since you don’t have a chance to accept or decline the game, predictably some of your random games will go back and forth repeatedly, while others never get off the ground and sit there cluttering your list of games. There doesn’t seem to be an option to prevent people from offering you random games, so new games will pop up in your list unbidden.

On your turn to draw, you’re given three different words to choose from, worth 1, 2 or 3 coins in order of increasing difficulty. In the free version, you have a limited dictionary (400 words), and 4 colors to draw with. Multiple colors is a fun dynamic that might take a little adjustment, if you’re used to simple pen and paper art-based guessing games.

When you’re happy with your drawing, submit it and your partner gets a chance to guess. There’s no time limit, which means that you can create a perfect piece of art or a functional scribble. While you can erase or start over, the whole progression is recorded. When its your turn to guess, it gives a great feeling of being live and interactive as you get to watch your partner’s drawing appear stroke by stroke. Hangman-style, you’re given the spaces for the answer below. A jumble of letters to choose from at the bottom with more than the available spaces to make it slightly more challenging. You can start your answer any time, or give up.

If you guess correctly, it congratulates you on how Drawsome! you are and you both get the coins awarded, so this is a fully cooperative game. Go to the next round, where the guesser takes their hand at drawing. The objective is to see how long you can keep the streak going back and forth, collecting coins along the way.

The visual production quality, interface, and gameplay are well thought out and attractive. The game is fun and good for a creative challenge to mix in with your shelf full of casual games. I’d like to see some different wrinkles added – like an option to play without the letters shown below, having to type in the answer yourself. I’d also like to see time-based bonuses, or possibly a challenge mode where you and a partner could go up against a pair of opponents.

The stability definitely needs some work, and it took longer than you would expect to start the app each time, which is more often than you would like. If you accidentally press back to get out of their menus rather than clicking on the X or if you go to your home screen it doesn’t pick up where you left off, but kicks you out of the app. I’d also make it easier to delete a game that doesn’t seem to be moving.

One other surprising omission is that if you give up on a word, you’re not able to quit that game – it immediately restarts at level one and pressing back won’t take you out. Since the game is still in its early stages, hopefully the developer cleans up some of these rough edges on the functionality side to bring it up to par with the look and feel of the game.

In the free version you’re given 5 bombs to start, which are used to destroy some of the available letters to help you get a better focus on the word you’re trying to guess, or to get a new set of words to choose. You can use the coins you earn to buy more bombs, and get a discount if you buy in bulk. If you love the game and want more variety, the paid version adds 2000 more words to your vocabulary and removes the ads, and color packs to give you more color options.

I enjoyed this more than Words with Friends, and the random option means that you’ll always be able to take a turn if you’d like if none of your friends are available. When the stability catches up with the look and gameplay, this has a chance to be a big social hit and will rate even higher.

If you’d like to join a game, find me on Facebook and lets team up to see how far our drawing and guessing skills will take us!