Scrabble - iPad Review

I read a lot of articles about games - and one that I see pop up pretty frequently is a list of 'best games for the iPad' or 'best tablet' games. Of course, this is a very subjective list and opinions will vary widely, but one of the most common titles I see on these lists is Scrabble.

For those unfamiliar with the board game - well.. come out from under your rock. :)

But seriously, the premise is simple yet the experience changes every time you play, which is a good deal of its charm. Opponents get sets of letters, and they use these letters to spell out words on a board. There are various things that can affect the score, from the values of the letters used (Q is worth a whole lot more than E) to the types of spaces you spell your word across (such as double letter or triple word).

This happens to be one of the first games my wife acquired after buying her iPad, and it's one of our most heavily played.

Graphics - 5:

Okay, there's really not much going on here. You have a static board and some letters on tiles. That's it. So why am I not being harder on the score? There really isn't much more to do with it really. Any superfluous animations and effects would probably just get annoying. However, tiles are easy to read, the board is a good representation of what you see in the boxed game. It's clean, concise and functional. That's really all anyone's looking for in a title like this.

Sound & Music - 5:

See above. Seriously, there's just not much of interest going on, but I can't honestly say I'd expect much either. With as much time as you spend staring at the small screen though, some nice, varied background music would have been a plus.

Gameplay - 9:

Everything works like it should. It's easy to slide tiles, the game checks word validity for you, and you can play against the computer or another human opponent. My wife and I play this when we're laying down just watching a movie. It's easy to hand back and forth and there are some clear advantages to an electronic version versus the board game:

- no cleanup
- built-in word checking

Talk about some valuable time savers. When it comes to touch detection and drag, there's almost never any problems or missed gestures. It just does what it is supposed to and stays out of the way, so to speak.

Intangibles - 9:

If you like word games, then it is really hard to do better than this classic game. There's always a good challenge to be had if you play the AI and it's fun playing against a person as well. Obviously if there's a significant skill difference between people, the challenge is reduced, but the various score tiles and random nature of the letter acquisition helps to balance things out as well. There is even a handy 'best word' feature each player can use 3 times a game. Stumped? The game will find you the highest-scoring possible word you can spell and then ask you if you want to go through with it. Nifty feature when I have a ton of odd letters and can't see anything useful on the board.

Overall - 7:

This score's a bit misleading in that it really depends on the person. If you like word games or enjoy playing board games like this with other people, you're going to get a lot out of this. If we drop out the technical aspects of the score, this game would have been a 9 out of 10 for me. That said? If you don't particularly get much out of these types of games, this is not going to interest you at all. It's exactly what you would expect from a board game of Scrabble - for better or worse depending on your preferences.
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