Unless you’re over 30 or you’ve been living under a rock, there is no way that you haven’t heard of the latest app craze called Draw Something. It seems like every time I log on my Facebook, my feed always has at least 1 friend posting up a screenshot of the game. Originally called Draw My Thing on the desktop, it’s the hottest game OMGPOP released in a while. With the emergence of tablet and smartphones, it only seemed appropriate to port a Flash game into a an app with a different twist. To put it simply. Draw Something is the modern-day Pictionary. Thanks to technological developments in recent years, we are now able to play an evolved version of Pictionary on-the-go, anytime, anywhere.
Mechanics of the game are pretty simple: draw a picture and let the other person guess it. The game gives you three words to choose from, each word rewarding you one, two, or three coins based on its difficulty if guessed correctly. Four brush sizes and four eraser sizes are also available for drawing. As for guessing, you are given 12 letters to choose from and these letters could be scrambled as many times as you want. You also start out with basic colors for drawing although more are unlocked by using your earned coins. These coins could also be used to buy more bombs. Bombs are used to get rid of some letters when you’re guessing or renew the list of three words when you’re drawing. Of course, you can buy more in-game coins with real money. Ultimately, the main objective of the game is to get the longest streak possible with your friend. Selecting “pass” forfeits the game and therefore ends the streak.
You could also play with as may friends as you want. Each turn (excluding the first one) requires you to guess your friend’s word and draw something for their turn. You could also decide to take a break from playing and “pause” the game by just leaving it alone. When your friend has forgotten about the game you’re both in, you can even send them a “nudge” to remind them to resume playing with you.
A unique feature of the game is being able to watch your friend’s entire guessing process. When your turn starts, the game gives you the option to watch or skip how your friend tried to guess the word. From letter scrambles to guess attempts, every action is showed just as each drawing action was shown to them.
The best thing about this game is it’s social aspect which contributes to the overall “fun factor” of the game. It’s one thing to beat a friend’s high scores, and it’s another to directly interact with them. Also, being able to play with multiple friends makes this game even more fun. The game’s integration with Facebook allows players to search friends on Facebook who also have the app. This makes creating a new game much easier as you don’t have to ask for your friends’ emails or search them up yourself.
What makes the game even better is it’s available for free and the paid version is fairly inexpensive. For only $0.99, you can get the ad-free version of the game which also comes with 2000 more words, 400 bonus coins, and 5 hints. Look, all apps have to be profitable, but I commend OMGPOP for making ads and in-game money their main source of revenue for the game as opposed to charging customers $10 for downloading it.
Being able to play this game on your smartphone is also a huge positive. I tried playing Draw My Thing on my PC and I found drawing on the mouse to be MUCH more difficult. With a smartphone or a tablet, you are at least able to use one finger as the brush to draw more accurate pictures (although my drawings still look terrible).
Perhaps the reason why the game is so popular and highly addictive is it’s simply fun. Since playing the game I have found myself laughing multiple times as I watched my friends guess my drawing or as I badly drew something for them. I guess it’s not “good” when people on the bus stare at you for laughing alone. Also, the reason why it’s fun is because it’s really one big semiotic exercise with your friend. Being able to draw out the word “trouble” is not as easy as it seems, so the game allows every player to channel their inner creativity. Of course, there are a few of us who are extremely talented artists who could draw anything with a simple drawing game.
All games need improvements, and that includes Draw Something. Flaws that are easy to spot include the lack of a chat function, which prompts some players to write their message on their drawings or their guess attempts, and the lack of an undo button, which makes correcting a slight drawing mistake a hassle.
Another flaw of the game is the inconsistency of word-difficulty. The word “Japan”, for example, is rated three coins which means it’s supposed to hard. But a few of my friends simply drew me the Japanese flag, which if you had no idea what it looked like, is just a white flag with a big red circle in the middle. This example also tells us that words are sometimes repeated within a game or through games with different friends.
Perhaps what makes this game less fun also depends on your friends. Because there is no moderation in this game (I’m not even sure if it’s possible at all), some of your friends may resort to cheating and simply write out the word. This obviously defeats the purpose of the game and therefore makes it less fun to play. I guess the saying (is it a saying?), “Choose your friends wisely” has some truth to it.
The great thing about apps is they get updated. Although Draw Something has its flaws, I’m pretty sure that OMGPOP will make the necessary changes in their next update. Just a quick Google search showed me that they were receptive of user feedback. Draw Something is a highly addictive game that will really makes the clock tick faster. With more changes to come in their next update, Draw Something poses as a serious contender for App of the Year. Zynga may want to consider stepping their game up.