Words With Friends Free for Android is good, but far from perfect

by Caitlin M. Foyt

All of the hype around the game Words With Friends left me with some pretty high expectations. After spending some time with this app, I could clearly see the appeal, however, this game is far from perfect.

Words With Friends Free is a fun, Scrabble-like game that connects you with your friends (or random strangers). Even with all the crossword assembling aside, though, I found this to be a really great way to catch up with my sister, who lives across the country.

It has an in-app texting option so you can carry on a conversation while you play, and not interrupt gameplay. (This is where I get to say things like "'Quin' isn't even a real word, you cheater!")

You start a new game by clicking "Create game," and choosing from a menu of options. You can either invite a friend who's already on your contact list into a game, search for a friend by user name, choose a random opponent, or "pass and play," which is a way to start a game with the person sitting next to you.

Once or twice, I found that I had a handful of tiles that could spell out more than one word on the board. Now, I don't have the Scrabble bible in front of me, but I don't recall there being a rule against playing multiple words in a single turn. In fact, my family always encouraged us to play as many words as we could. You can see why I was pretty disappointed when I learned that I could only play one word per turn.

Another beef I have with this game is its advertising. After every single turn, players are directed away from the game board (before you can even see how much your word ended up being worth) to an ad. This doesn't necessarily affect your gameplay, because you're sitting and waiting for your friend to take his or her turn, anyway, but it is still quite annoying. There's the option to skip the ad each time — you just tap the bottom of your screen and then hit the "Skip Ad" button — but, you still have to deal with constantly being booted from your game.

Depending upon the way you look at it, the length of time these games last could be looked at as either a good or a bad thing. I found that each game usually take more than an hour to complete, and that's when I'm being attentive to them. If you're a person with business to be done, Words With Friends might just be another digital distraction that puts a crimp in productivity.

Some things I found especially neat about Words With Friends Free, though, is the fact that you can play up to 20 games at a time, and the app has push notifications so you know when it's time to take your turn. (This way, you don't have to tap your foot with the app open, but you don't have to worry about keeping your opponent waiting, either.)

While I am anxiously anticipating the release of a full version, Words With Friends Free is a pretty decent Scrabble clone. Despite it's flaws, it is still certainly worth a look.

Download the free Appolicious Android app