Scrabble goes mobile
Now you can take the classic game with you wherever you go. The problem is, though, that it comes with a plethora of ads and drains your battery like crazy. You might want to find a different app if you want to play word-based games with your friends.
A poor showing for a popular brand
Connect with friends and strangers alike to see who has the best words.
Electronic Arts brings you the popular word game, now fitted and designed for mobile devices. The problems are plentiful and likely to do with EA’s involvement with the title.
The first thing you notice with the app is the interface; the color scheme doesn’t work and the layout isn’t good for tap targets. It feels like it was developed for PC and then shrunk down to mobile size without much consideration for the use of a single finger.
The options menu features a couple of sliders that are just a bit too small for most normal fingers. It doesn’t feel designed around the human touch against a regular-sized smartphone.
As you start a game, you’ll notice a few options for playing Scrabble. You can do play-and-pass, which is a cool little feature, or play against the computer. It’s important to note that not a lot of apps like this have an offline function, so that’s a refreshing option to see implemented. You can also connect the app to Facebook and play against friends, or opt to match up against a stranger.
But this is something you can typically find in Words With Friends; you can connect it to Facebook or play against people from half a world away. Scrabble isn’t exactly being inventive here. It’s simply worth mentioning because this sort of player-centric design is something that EA has lost the habit of.
Deeper in the game settings, you’ll find a couple different modes to choose from, like a points-based game type and a rounds-based one as well. This comes in addition to the classic Scrabble format, so you can explore the game in new ways.
One of the few features in Scrabble that Words With Friends doesn’t have is the “teacher”. You can activate the teacher after you make a move, and it’ll tell you what word you should’ve played based on the tiles on the board and on your rack. It’s an interesting feature that might trigger some word memories but it doesn’t actually teach you much about the game.
It would be more helpful if the teacher identified why the move was worth more. It should mention that its suggestion hits the triple-word tile or talk about some strategies for grabbing those bonus tiles. Instead, all it does is say, “You should have used this word instead”, which does nothing to help you improve at the strategy side of Scrabble. It just feels like you’re being reprimanded by someone with a dictionary.
The biggest problem with Scrabble, without a doubt, is the ads. There are banner ads at the top of the screen during play and the bottom in the menus; these ones aren’t bad. What’s infuriating the ads between every single move you make. Literally, every move. There’s an ad for this, and ad for that, and the flow of your game is interrupted.
Detractors of EA won’t be surprised; this is par for the course here. As if the ad breaks weren’t enough of an issue, there are in-game coins to purchase...for no reason. There’s nothing to buy with them. There are no cosmetics, unlocks, or anything that you get by spending these coins. One has to wonder if EA put them in just to see how many players would compulsively purchase them and then just rake in the cash.
At the end of the day, Scrabble isn’t worth picking up and it isn’t a unique experience. It’s riddled with flaws and doesn’t do anything well that you couldn’t find elsewhere. EA has gutted yet another brand name and turned it into a microtransaction machine. You can feel it every time to submit a word, because you’ll see yet another ad
Where can you run this program?
You can play scrabble on Android phones running version 4.1 and up.
Is there a better alternative?
Yes. Words With Friends is superior to Scrabble in every way; it’s more attractive, runs better, and isn’t filled to the brim with advertisements. You can play basically the same game on WWF, so it’s preferable to Scrabble.
Scrabble isn’t anything special. The name recognition pulls most of the weight with this app, but you can find the same concept in other places. What you likely won’t find is the insane level of monetization. That’s pretty unique to EA.
Should you download it?
No. Scrabble on mobile is just another EA attempt to use a well-known brand name to gouge money out of the populace. They’ve been doing this for ages, so this doesn’t come as a shock. Go grab Words With Friends instead.
- Option for offline play
- Connect Facebook to play against friends
- Multiple game types
- Ads between every move
- Unattractive interface
- No purpose for coins