The extremely popular iPhone game ‘Words with Friends’ debuted on the Android Marketplace this week. Basically, the game is an interpretation of the old Scrabble board game, which is also available for iOS but doesn’t have quite the same popularity as ‘Words with Friends’.The new game provides Android users access to the current pool of almost 6 million iOS players who are regularly challenging each other at a rate of over 1.6 million unique users a day. With such a huge number of people playing at once, you never have to worry about finding someone to compete against.
The Android version of the game was in development for more than a year and durinig that time, the original developer ‘NewToy’ was purchased by ‘Zynga’, the folks behind such titles as the Facebook smash hit ‘Farmville’.
The Android version is currently only available as a free app, which while sounding like a plus can actually be in reality a true distraction as the ads are served up full screen after approximately every other turn. The ads can sometimes break the flow of the game, not to mention your concentration. There is a paid version in the works, but no release date has yet been announced.
The game boasts some very nice features such as when you play a tile on the board the game automatically zooms you into the area of the word you are creating. This makes moving the other letters into their correct places much easier. Also, the chat feature is easy to use and readily accessible so you can text your friends and taunt your opponents with relative ease. Another nice feature is that from the home screen the games you are playing are all well displayed so you can see at a glance if it’s your turn or your opponent’s.
On the down side, the Android version does not support screen rotation so you are limited to playing in only one viewing mode. Also, once a tile is played and the board zooms to the word, you can’t zoom back out to see the whole board even if you recall your tiles. Further, some early adopters have reported random game crashes and an intermittent failure of push notifications that it’s your turn.
Given the recent debut of other Scrabble-like games such as ‘Wordsmith’ on the Android, ‘Words with Friends’ has some serious competition in this genre. In fact, some may find the playability of ‘Wordsmith’ to be superior since it now allows you to play with 1, 2 or 3 other players at once and supports screen rotation and the ability to zoom in and out with finger gestures.
Time will tell if ‘Words with Friends’ can duplicate the success it enjoyed on the iPhone now that is available to the growning Android population.