Words With Friends for iPhone review

NewToy’s Words With Friends is a two-person crossword challenge. It absolutely, positively is not Scrabble, so Hasbro’s lawyers can serve their writs another day. Yes, there might be a few similarities. It woundn’t hurt to know the basic rules of that other game, such as the layout of the board, how to exploit double- and triple-letter scores, and what to do with a string of O’s, I’s and a solitary X.

Words With Friends exploits the networking capabilities of the iPhone and iPod touch. Simply enter a valid email address and search for an opponent using WiFi, 3G, or EDGE. You can let also the app seek out a random player, or invite friends to play through Twitter and Facebook.

The addition of a live chat feature is one of the game’s innovations. A pair of goofy animated googly eyes will show you when a friend or opponent is online and in the game. You then simply tap the Chat button and type as you would with any instant messenger client.

If you are accustomed to speedy wordplay, then Words With Friends might not be for you, unless you opt for a pass-and-play game. Often you have to wait a day or two for your opponent’s response to a move.

You can set up the app to notify you of your turn by email or text message. The latest update has true push notification, with notices popping up on your phone whenever it’s your turn – you can turn this off in the app’s settings. And the app’s main screen will also keep you up-to-date with your progress.

Our biggest quibble is the difficulty in moving letter tiles to their intended location on the board. The camera will zoom in automatically when you begin placing letters. Most of the time, though, you will need to do some replacing. The app will let you know if you try to pass off a phony word.

OUR VERDICT

NewToy also offers a free version of Words With Friends. The only difference between the free and inexpensive version is advertising – and we feel that £1.79 is probably a small price to pay to avoid full-screen and banner ads.

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