Word games have usually be relegated to “educational” or “edutainment” status over the years, a category that has never been in the spotlight like other more popular genres such as Action-Adventure or Role Playing Games. Word games were never known for being big sellers, no matter the platform they were on.
Maybe that was the problem, companies have been trying to sell these types of games to players for years and only receiving moderate success. Giving the title away for free is something that has only recently come into the mainstream- usually called “freemium” titles. Freemium titles span the gamut of requiring payment for in game items or watching ads (yes, I consider ad based free games to be freemium since players are usually forced to watch ads in return for playing the game for free). Words With Friends falls into the advertising freemium model- you play your letters and then an ad plays then you are promptly (usually 10 seconds or less) returned to the game after a simple click.
Matching letters may sound like this is a Scrabble variant (i.e., ripoff) and WWF (sorry wrestling, or wildlife fans, not that company) just that, a ripoff. Unlike other ripoffs of more popular titles (quick, name five good Mario clones or Mario Kart homages off the top of your head), Words is actually a pretty good homage and has successfully created it’s own style (amazing considering it is just squares with letters on them).
Picking opponents can be random or you can log into your Facebook or Twitter accounts and challenge friends (hence the name of the game). Once a game is started, one player goes first and has quite a substantial edge in controlling the beginning of the game. They can either play a short word (making it harder to build off of) or a long one and go for multipliers on the board (getting an early lead in points). As with any of these types of games, the hardest parts are the beginning and end. The end is rough because you are limited in spaces to place letters that will spell words down and to the left causing a lot of invalid tile placements.
Words With Friends is available on Android (version reviewed), iOS (my fiancée was terribly addicted to it there) and on Facebook (gotta love the “integration” of Facebook in our regular lives). Cross platform play is completely seamless and as far as the player is concerned, it doesn’t matter how your opponent is playing, the game simply works.
JXD S601 Specifics:
Words With Friends does have a couple of small problems on the S601, partly due to the resistive touch screen and lack of multi touch. The biggest problem rears it’s ugly head when you get into the game. The zoomed out view is tough to place tiles so players have to zoom in on the board to get more control of letter placement. Zoomed in or not, the letters are clear and easy to read.
That brings me to the zooming problem. Since you cannot “pinch and zoom” like on iPhone or other Android devices that have a capacitive touch screen, you have to “double tap” real fast in close proximity to each other (not exactly the same spot though) to simulate a “pinch and zoom” action.
The graphics are warm and easy on the eyes and convey a fun environment to play in, extremely polished and not some amateur work here. Button use is limited to the circle button being the back button, same as the button marked for “back” below the gaming buttons on the right.
Words With Friends by Zynga
Available now on Google Play
JXD S601 used for review, to learn more about this device, please read our JXD S601 article. Purchase your JXD S601 from Willgoo.com today.