App O’ The Mornin’: Scrabble

With the demise of the unofficial “Scrabulous,” the official EA/
Hasbro version of Scrabble became the only online version of this classic game. It’s already a huge hit on Facebook, and has also made a successful jump the the App store, featuring multiplayer support that is among the best for any turn-based game.

The support for play across multiple platforms is, in my experience, unique among Apps. (And, no, I am not counting Farmville and Mafia. If you consider those “games,” you’re probably at the wrong blog.) I can start a game with the App, invite players via Facebook, and then anyone playing can continue the game either via Facebook or the App. This is a fantastic feature that needs to be implemented in more games.

The software passes the new moves fairly quickly, and App connection failures are rare. (The Facebook side of the equation is a little more fussy, often requiring repeated screen reloads.) This kind of offline multiplayer is ideal for mobile devices, since it allows people to make moves at their own pace. Because of this App, I now play Scrabble every day, and it’s so easy to use that a move never takes more than a minute or two.

On the downside, it could use a more diverse set of customization options and faster load times. Although the app will send push notifications when a new move from an online opponent is received, you have to restart the app, sit through the logos, and wait while it finds your games. Updates seem to have improved this since the initial release, so we can hope that it will get even better.

Those reservations aside, it’s still a fine implementation of Scrabble for $5.