Review: Words with Friends – Buy it and then come kick my ass - Macenstein

Review: Words with Friends – Buy it and then come kick my ass

What’s more fun than playing Scrabble? EVERYTHING! Which is why it’s so odd that I am so thoroughly addicted to playing Words With Friends.

Above: While the iPad was MADE to play this game, it works surprisingly well on the iPhone too.

Words with Friends is about as close to a Scrabble clone as you can get – so close in fact that I’m not sure exactly why it’s allowed to be sold (maybe the Scrabble copyright has expired?), but it appears to be thriving. It is currently available in 3 different flavors for your handheld enjoyment: a free iPhone appicon (with annoying ads), a $1.99 add-free iPhone app (on sale)icon, and a $1.99 HD/iPad version (also on sale this week)icon. If you happen to buy a version for both the iPhone and the iPad, you can switch seamlessly between the two, so you can play on your big iPad screen when you get home, and you can play on your iPhone when you are in the can at work.

These are pretty much the only letters I get…

So, what’s so cool about it? Well, for me the big thing is the online play. WWF supports the simultaneous playing of up to 20 games at a time, and thanks to the ridiculously large community of players, you never have to wait more than a few seconds for a new random player to appear.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why do I want to play 20 games of Scrabble Word With Friends at a time? Well, that’s the second awesome thing about the game. You don’t have to, nor are you expected to, finish a game in real time. WWF really takes Scrabble and makes it into a casual game. WWF keeps track of all your games, and switching between them is easy. If you have a spare second standing in line you can fire it up, place a word, then wait for your opponent to respond. Sometimes this happens right away, other times it can take 12 hours. WWF shows you when the last time you opponent played a word, so you can figure out if they might currently still be online, or if you’re playing someone in England on a totally different schedule. I’ve found most games have taken me about 2-3 days to finish, although I almost always have someone waiting for me to go when I fire it up.

That’s right, WWF has made it into my dock. High praise indeed

Of course, manually checking to see if it is your turn is pretty lame, so you can opt to have WWF notify you if you have any pending turns via alerts. You can have the standard pop up alert with sound, or simply the badge on the WWF icon letting you know how many people are currently waiting on you to go.

Another nice touch is the ability to chat with you opponents, in a very iChat-like interface. I’ve basically just used it to call bullshit on someone throwing down a word that no human has ever uttered, but you could very easily use it as a way to keep in touch with your friends while playing.

Chatting on the iPad version, but the iPhone looks identical

When you start a game, you have the option of choosing to play someone in your contact list, a specific user (I am Dr Macenstein, if you want to beat me), a random opponent selected by the computer, or a local “pass and play” game for those times you want to actually play a human being who is in the room with you (warning, you’ll have to actually let the other person hold your iPad to do this).

All in all the game is extremely well done, with a responsive, intuitive interface, smooth animations and sound effects, and just an overall addicting game play. I was never really all that into Scrabble (as evidenced by the fact that I have yet to win a game of WWF) but for some reason I love playing Word With Friends. I was also very pleasantly surprised at how well the game plays on the iPhone’s much smaller screen. Having been introduced to WWF on the iPad, I thought placing tiles would be difficult, but the developers did an amazing job with the iPhone version’s controls.


The only issue I have with the game is that since you are often playing strangers online, you can’t verify that they aren’t cheating and using some sort of Scrabble solving website, of which there are many. Still, it’s not so much about winning the game as it is experiencing that momentary ego boost when you put down an amazingly long word, fit perfectly between 2 other words, and hitting a Tripple Word square. For just a moment, you are Einstein.

The only other thing that could possibly have made the game better would be if it were a universal iPhone/iPad game, but if you buy them now on sale for $1.99 each, odds are that’s still less than the $4.99 a universal app might have sold for.

Another stellar set of tiles (iPhone version). Board zooms in as you drop tiles)


The fact that I have routinely gotten my ass handed to me yet keep coming back for more is truly a testament to how addicting Word With Friends is. I’m not sure how long the sale prices on the various versions will last, but if you have an iPad or are even considering buying one, you should do yourself a favor and drop the two bucks on the game now. Same thing goes for the iPhone version, although tere is also a free version (with annoying ads each turn) if you’d like to try before you buy.

One day I will actually win a game. I just know it.

Our first perfect 10 rating for a game!!!

Pros: Awesome.
Cons: I suck at it

Price: free iPhone appicon (with annoying ads), a $1.99 add-free iPhone app (on sale)icon, and a $1.99 HD/iPad version (also on sale this week)icon

10 Responses to “Review: Words with Friends – Buy it and then come kick my ass”
  1. Killer's Dad says:

    So are you using this to improve upon your type-o’s? or is it typos?

  2. Colin says:

    So I guess this means they finally fixed all their really bad network issues?

  3. @Killer’s Dad

    F – U = 5 points


    and @Colin

    Yeah, I suppose so, as I have had ZERO problems on any device for over a week of fairly constant playing

    – The Doc

  4. Church says:

    “so close in fact that I’m not sure exactly why it’s allowed to be sold”

    Game mechanics aren’t copyrightable. (The Scrabble/Scrabulous/Facebook dust-up was based on the design of the game.) WWF (which looks hysterically like World Wrestling Federation) is probably safe there.

  5. Wait Doc, so your saying buy the iPad version now incase it goes up in price…?

    Downloading it (free) now.

  6. blueMacGroup says:

    There is nothing worst than the people who put out 7 letter words for 40+ pts on every move that include a q, x, or z. Specially when in real life they have the vocabulary of a 2 year old. Yeah, like we’re supposed to believe you have a PhD in English vocabulary but don’t know the difference between to, too and two.

    At least I’ll tell you when I pull words out of my ass.

  7. kenhead says:

    Don’t beat yourself up Doc.

    I only beat you 397 to 205

  8. Thanks for sharing that with everyone kenhead. Well, at least we all know I wasn’t being modest…
    – The Doc

  9. spacenuke says:

    Dr. Mac are you still playing? I downloaded the game yesterday (4/13) and started a game with you. If anyone wants to start a game with me I am spacenuke.

  10. PteroScott says:

    If other macensteiners are looking for an easy win…my word with friends name is PteroScott

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