Quality & Innovation Shine in Scrabble for iPad. Game Review

Scrabble for iPad [rating: 5/5]

Quality & Innovation Shine in this Classic Word Game!

Scrabble has been hitting the headlines recently when Mattel announced that they will change the official rules to allow Proper Nouns to be used, click here to read the full story. Now I for one am not impressed but I understand why they are doing it, however that is irrelevant to this review as to this point the iDevice versions of Scrabble have not included this new rule change.

Scrabble has been available on the iPhone and iPod Touch for some time now and has a great range of features including single player, local multi-player and multi-player via Facebook and it’s a well put together application. However, EA & Hasbro have launched a new version of Scrabble for the iPad with all the existing features and fun of the original plus a whole lot more.

SCRABBLE for iPad EA MobileThere are many word games available in the App Store already but Scrabble is the master, with it’s simple rules and scoring system it’s a game that everyone can play and now rather than having to carry around a Scrabble board and all the tiles, not to mention a pad and paper to calculate the scores ‘Scrabble for the iPad’ offers a real alternative playing scrabble with a group of people. This is because in addition to the versions of the games that you can play on the iPhone and iPod Touch you can now play in Pass ‘n Play mode as well as my personal favorite Party Play mode.

Before I get into those great new versions of the game lets talk a little about the style of the game. If you’ve played Scrabble on the other devices before you will be very familiar with the polished style of the graphics and presentations and they have continued with that style here on the iPad although it now looks even better and sleeker on the bigger brighter screen.

The background music to the game is nice and soothing, although it is a little short and when playing for any length of time it will look all too frequently. Not to worry though as you can either turn the music off altogether or simply listen to your own music from your iPad instead.

The other three game options are Play Now, Facebook and Local Network Play. Play Now lets you play against the AI of the iPad and in addition to the standard options of Game Style and Dictionary type you can also chose between Easy, Normal and Hard difficulty levels. Local Network play allows you to play against a friend who also has an iPad with Scrabble on it while the Facebook games allows you to compete one move at a time against 3 other friends via Facebook. All three of these options are well implemented and play smoothly and seamlessly.

However, it’s in the remaining two modes that Scrabble for the iPad really makes it mark showing not only how a classic board game should be ported to a device but also in the innovative way you can play. Pass ‘n Play mode allows up to 4 players to play Scrabble on a single iPad. The usual options are available before you start including the 5 game style, these include the classic game mode for those with time on their hands, and the 75 point and 8 round game for the times where you want to keep the game a little shorter.

Launching the game sets player 1 with his tiles ready to place them on the board and it’s a simple task of dragging and dropping the tiles onto the board before clicking the Play button to submit the word. When it’s Player 2’s turn the screen hides the tiles and waits for Player 2 to click ok, hence preventing the other players form seeing their letters as the iPad is passed around. It works great and is ideal for when you want to play Scrabble with a group of friends. The only downside of this Pass ‘n Play mode is that you can’t change the default names meaning you have to remember your player number as you pass the iPad around.

Having said that though what if you hand all of you friends not only have an iPad between you but also all have iPhones or iPod Touches? Well then you are in for a treat as instead on using Pass ‘n Play you can select Party Play instead. With Party Play all the players can use their iPod Touches or iPhones to download a free Scrabble Tile rack. With this installed they can join the game over either local Wifi or Bluetooth and use it to keep all of their tiles on not only allowing them to keep their tiles even more secure form prying eyes but also allowing them to work on their word selection while they wait.

Once it’s your turn to play and have your word ready all it takes is a flick of your finger on each tile and it magically appears on the tile rack on the iPad which is acting as the playing board. From there you can simply drag and drop your letters onto the board and score your points. Not only is this innovative in it’s design but also superbly implemented, reactive and robust. We played our first game over a two hour period and not once did any of the players have any technical difficulties with the game and that even include a couple of times when players had to exit their tile racks to use their iDevices for other reasons.

For Party Play alone Scrabble for the iPad fully justifies it’s $9.99 price tag and with all the other game styles available there is no reason not to have this game on your iPad. It’s a must have app that not only brings non-iPad owners in on the fun but also shows off everything that the iPad is about.

The Good

  • Innovative use of iPod Touch and iPhone
  • Game styles for everyone
  • Facebook integration for social play

The Not So Good

  • No ability to rename players in Pass ‘n Play mode

Price: $9.99 (iTunes Store Preview)
Released: Apr 01, 2010
Reviewed Version: 1.0.55
Size: 12.6 MB
Language: English
Seller: Electronic Arts
© 2008 Hasbro. US and Canada Only.
Rated 4+
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.2 or later.


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