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.


  1. Good review there :) Scrabble is one of the better classic American board games, mostly because it doesn't require dice :P

    Have you played Quarrel yet? I've got a review coming, and its a great new word board game.mabye even better than Scrabble :O

  2. I always liked Scrabble, sounds like the iPad verseion is what you'd expect though. Nice review :) I think this is the first time I've commented on your blog btw so I thought I might mention I added you to my favourite blogs list - I really like the style of your blog! :)

    1. @Oliver - Yeah, the game was exactly what I expected, which is a good thing. It's a good game so if you make it right, you really wind up with a good product on your hands I think.

      Also - thanks for the comment and for adding me to your blog list Oliver - and I appreciate the compliment. I added Gaming Heap to my links and blogroll as well - I love trying to grow our gaming community here!

  3. Thanks Games! I have always enjoyed word games. My wife teases me about that and says it's because I went to college for journalism and think I have a 1-up on people (not true! At least... not entirely...)

    I have not played Quarrel yet, so I'm looking forward to the review. These are the kinds of games I can actually get my wife to play with me, so I like those. :)

  4. Scrabble is a fun game...I have played it on my laptop...

    1. Agreed. I like it against the computer, but I enjoy it so much more when I am playing against a person. Always fun to look over and see my wife's expression when I put out a ridiculous word that works. Of course, I get to see her gloat when she does the same to me. :) Thanks for the comment!

  5. I have only played Scrabble a couple times in my life, so something like this would be perfect for me. I like that you weren't too harsh with the graphics & sound. This game is all about gameplay and it could only be a terrible game if they managed to mess that up a bunch.

    On a side note, has anyone ever seen the Scrabble documentary called Word Wars? It focuses on a group of four Scrabble pros on their competitive Scrabble journey. It is a surprisingly pretty good watch (if you enjoy documentaries), and I think it can be seen on Netflix.

    1. Good morning, Parko - thanks for the comments. Word Wars huh? I haven't seen that, and while I don't generally watch a lot of tv in general or documentaries in particular, I do make exceptions for game-related stuff. If I can find it on Netflix, I'll have to give that a peek as I'm sure my wife would be interested in it as well.


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