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Scrabble FREE for Android could have been better

by Caitlin M. Foyt

Scrabble Free has a handful of unique features that make it appealing to both wordplay champions and beginners.

Similar to the free version of Words With Friends, Scrabble Free, too, has cross-platform-play capability, so you can duke it out with your friends who have iPhones. You can also connect with your opponents in a variety of ways by sending invites to people listed in your address book, inviting a stranger to play, or selecting “pass and play” so you can go up against the person who is sitting next to you.

Unfortunately, there's no way a player can opt to play against an AI. The one key downfall with this kind of interactive wordplay game is that you're constantly waiting for your opponent to take his or her turn. A 38-point word isn't worth much if your best friend leaves you hanging. I think it would be nice to see the inclusion of an option for single-player games.

While popular word puzzle games like Words With Friends will allow you to play proper nouns and Internet slang, Scrabble isn't so generous. You'd better study up, kids, because neither "Brian" nor "bloop" will fly here.

Occasionally, when you play a word, Scrabble will let you know how you could have better used your letters to earn more points. For instance, I played the word "wife" for 10 points when "fauna" would have earned 16 points on a double word tile. This is a great way for you to improve your vocabulary and better train your eye. In case this makes you feel like an elementary school student, though, there's an option for you to skip over this.

Scrabble Free is not perfect. There are a lot of ads. After a full round of gameplay, everything comes to a complete stop and you'll have to wait for a full-page ad to load. When you try to click out of it, it's difficult to not accidentally click on it, thus directing you to a website or the Android marketplace. It's just irritating.

The app itself works well, but I was disappointed that EA and Hasbro didn't create a sleeker-looking product, especially when Hasbro sells the original board game. If you ask me, Words With Friends is not only the better-looking one between the two, but it's also easier to find your way around.

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