Scrabble Review (iOS)

Scrabble - ThumbnailLet’s get something out of the way. I’m not a big fan of Scrabble. I’m not very good at it. Although, plenty of people enjoy Scrabble. That’s why I decided to check things out. Maybe by playing this app I could learn to enjoy the game. It didn’t work out that way, but I was impressed by the quality of the app. Considering that a tabletop version of the game is far more expensive, I was surprised that the app was only 99¢.

Scrabble is a crossword game, as words are built across or down. The point is to take random letters and create a word with the best score. The first word is built from the center of a 15-by-15 grid. Subsequent words are built by using those existing letters. Each letter has a number value. Rare letters – like Q or Z – have the highest value.

That’s where Scrabble players can test their abilities. With my solid understanding of the English language, I thought that I would do well in this game. The computer showed me otherwise. Even set at normal, the computer was too formidable of an opponent. I often found myself staring at the same seven tiles, struggling to find a decent word.

I tried again, this time I set the difficulty to easy. I was doing well. Also, I was appreciating the game’s features. The Retina Display graphics were crisp and clear. It was fairly easy to move tiles around and there were lots of options.

The app has a “Teacher” option. If this feature is activated, it will show you the best possible word – but only after your turn is over. If you can’t wait that long, there’s a “Best Word” option. By pressing the heart-shaped icon, the computer will place the best possible word for you. It can only be used four times in a match.

There’s also a dictionary, where you can look up legal Scrabble words. The computer busts out some really obscure words. If you’re looking to expand your vocabulary, this app is an excellent way to get started. I didn’t know that “vum” was a word. Yet, “OK” was not acceptable. Acronyms are not allowed. Yet, “BRRR” was allowed. I just shook my head in disbelief at that one.

One of the features of this app showed me how serious people take this game. With 25 Facebook friends games, and 25 online games with random opponents, up to fifty 50 games can be played at once. I didn’t try that. I just played against the computer opponent. I don’t know of many people that play Scrabble. This app represented an opportunity to practice.

I only have one major complaint with this game. I liked the music, but it was too repetitive. It wasn’t long before I disabled it. Any other problems were related to my inexperience with Scrabble. I didn’t know how the game was supposed to end. I just kept pressing “Pass” and wondering if the game was broken. Nope, that’s just how Scrabble works.

I think that’s the best part of this app. It eliminates many of the conundrums that surround the physical version of this game. I didn’t have any trouble starting a game and I didn’t have to argue about the rules. The computer keeps things fair and simple.

Am I a Scrabble lover now? No, I still don’t feel too comfortable playing this game. I hate being at a loss for words. But for those that do enjoy this game, the app is quite nice.