Rejoice, casual gamers of the world! Zynga’s latest “With Friends” title has made it to Android devices in Scramble With Friends Free. This title takes the addictive word hunting puzzle game, adds the usual Facebook and email contact integration, plus a few spiffy power-ups, and presents it all to you completely for free, albeit with some really intrusive and obnoxious advertisements.
Just to keep my bases covered, Scramble is the word hunting puzzler in which several lettered tiles are randomly assorted in a four by four square. You must link letters together side by side or diagonal to spell out various words, never using the same letter twice in a word. Your usual double and triple point tiles are included, and the person with the most points rather than words is the victor, with each match lasting three two-minute rounds that get incrementally more challenging. This digital version of the game runs on a token system that limits your turns. You’ll need to use a token for each play session, much like a real life arcade game, and a single token is replenished every twenty minutes.
Whether you’re playing with your friends or with random strangers online, the game is great fun. One notable addition is the special power-ups that you can take into a session with you. One is the freeze power-up, which stops the countdown timer for a good while. Another is the inspiration power-up, which automatically gives you three random solutions when activated. The other is the scramble power-up, which rotates and shifts the letters about to give you a new perspective. You can take any one power-up into play with you for free, and you can take a second for one token. While these were interesting, it really seems quite unfair that secondary power-ups can be taken by one player and not the other. As usual, if you want extra tokens, they are available for in-app purchase.
In terms of interface and visuals and all that, the game is fine. It’s the same quality as most any “With Friends” style game. There are some other flaws though. One thing I would really like to see added is a simple pass and play mode that doesn’t require you to play online on separate devices. I do like that after a game, you can view any and every possible word, which is really helpful for learning the hundred official words that no one could possibly know if they didn’t play games like this. You know the ones I mean. All in all, Scramble With Friends Free is a solid take on a classic game, and definitely worth your time.