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“Double word score.” “Triple letter score.” If you’re a word-game fan, these phrases probably sound like music to your ears. First introduced in the classic board game Scrabble, they continued to delight fans as part of the Zynga game Words With Friends in the modern platforms of iOS, Android and Facebook. Now, Zynga delivers a new mobile word game — Hanging With Friends — a fresh twist on the old pencil-and-paper Hangman. For a brief challenge matches against friends, family or a stranger, Hanging With Friends is the best word game yet.
Just like the timeless Hangman, you must construct a word to challenge a partner. In this app, you’re given a small group of letter tiles with which to work, and the word you create needs a minimum of four letters and a maximum of eight. Randomly dropped into the eight blank spaces will be a bonus letter or word score multiplier just like in Scrabble. If the word you construct reaches the right length you’ll get the bonus.
The real fun comes from the interaction with your opponents. The app adds a cool graphic of two avatars clutching balloons, floating above a pool of lava. Each time a player fails to guess a word in the allotted number of strikes, one of the balloons pops and the character drops closer to the molten lake. Three “lifelines” provide hints if you run into trouble.
The app provides several modes of play — pick your own friends from Facebook or your contacts, let the game select a random player online, or Pass and Play with someone close by. For online opponents, a chat feature lets you converse as you play, and it works across the iOS, Android and Facebook platforms.
All in all, it’s a great game for mobile situations. Each turn is short, but will make you think and will definitely exercise your vocabulary. The game lets you play up to 20 matches simultaneously, and will alert you when your turn comes around.