Addictive but Visually Overwhelming
Scrabble has a very specific vibe. It is not just another brainless game that we find ourselves playing while we’re in the middle of streaming our favorite Netflix show. You don’t see kids who’d rather play Minecraft, play Scrabble. It requires a certain mindset. However, something about Android Scrabble Go is so addictive and engrossing that I found myself tapping away at it long past anything resembling a decent bedtime.
First things first, Scopely’s Scrabble Go feels less like a serious board game and more like an action game. Somehow Scopely has rendered a board game as sober as Scrabble into a genuinely engaging video game.
The title offers plenty of rewards consisting of gem bundles, daily chests and special tiles. There are 15 different types of tiles one can choose from and nine different frames to match the theme of your chosen tile. You unlock these tiles upon participating in various game tournaments all of which are variations of Scrabble but go beyond its traditional concept. Each of these modes, Duel, Word Drop, Tumbler and Rush have their perks and make for some rather superb competitive gameplay.
Insanely good multiplayer execution
Android Scrabble GO’s multiplayer feature is well-thought out and deserves a separate shoutout. While previous versions of Scrabble came with multiplayer options, Scopely has honed in on this vital element. Right on your home screen, the app gives you a dozen different options to connect with friends. You can choose between your contact list, Facebook friends or play a game with a stranger. It also features a ‘Match of The Day’ and tells you which of your friends is the best Scrabble Go player if you’re in need of challenging competition.
But most importantly, it allows you to play on multiple Scrabble boards simultaneously. Players have the option to make a word on a board and then easily switch to another board to play with a different player. In the meantime, your opponent on the first board would be done with their word and you can go back to play your turn. This may sound hard to manage, but the devs have done a brilliant job at making the switch between boards rather smooth and fast. The multiple board features turns the rather slow game of Scrabble into a really quick and exciting experience.
Though the app does feature quite a lot in-app purchases, none of them are the kind that interfere with gameplay. Purchases range from gem bundles costing $4 to $99. While $99 is pricey, none of the IAPs are hidden behind microtransactions and they are entirely optional.
Way too much visual noise
Having said that, the title’s visuals can be a little overwrought. Not only are they a little tacky, there’s way too much happening on the screen. Every tiny space on the screen is clickable and leads you to another page. There is barely any space on the screen that won’t cause a menu to pop up as soon as your finger accidentally touches it.
The game itself can be a little overbearing. Too often during gameplay, like after every single turn, the player is prompted to start another game with someone new. This gets fairly annoying. Ideally, the option should’ve just been in the form of an icon somewhere on the screen that you can click on if you want.
Another distracting feature is its level ups. Every time you level up, the app takes you to another page and makes you open a chest brimming with rewards. It’s highly distracting and takes a good 10-15 seconds; when you’re finally allowed to resume your game, you’ve lost your train of thought.
All in all, however, Android Scrabble Go is an excellent attempt at bringing Scrabble to the small screen. It is engaging, interactive and got me hooked the first time I played it. The interface could have been a little toned down but apart from that, it’s definitely worth the download.
Is it Hardcore?
Managing to make a game like Scrabble exciting is impressive but it definitely needs to lose a point for overdoing the interface.