Updated: 20th April 2012 for iOS version 1.5.14
Like Angry Birds before it, Draw Something is a gaming phenomenon. Launched just a few weeks ago, the Pictionary-like game is already being played by just about everyone with an iPhone. See also How to make a stylus and Draw Something tips and tricks
The premise is simple: you choose one of three words, whose difficulty ranges from easy to hard, draw a picture of it and send it to a friend or a random player. They then attempt to figure out what you've drawn using a subset of the letters shown on screen.
What makes the game so hilarious is that the other player sees an animation of you drawing the image, not just the final artwork. This includes everything, even if you deleted the entire image and started again or erased a portion and re-drew it. Fortunately, pauses are omitted, so they see a concise version of events.
If they guess the word correctly, you both receive a reward of between one and three coins, depending on the difficulty level. It's then their turn to choose a word draw, and the game continues indefinitely, even if you don't manage to figure out the word. In the latter case, the rally between you ends, and you start at 'Turn 1' again. There's no winner as such, but this seems to matter little to Draw Something's huge army of addicted fans.
You can find friends to play by connecting the app to Facebook, or via their email address or Draw Something username. There's also a 'random' button if you don't have any friends. You can play with multiple people at the same time, and notifications pop up to let you know when someone has sent you a drawing.
There are two versions of the game, an ad-supported free one and a paid-for, ad-free one which costs 69p for iOS devices. Believe us when we say it's well worth paying to remove the ads. Plus, you get 400 coins for purchasing the app. As the iOS app is universal, it works on the iPad as well. The large screen is ideal for more intricate drawings and it's even better if you have a stylus.
Coins can be used to buy extra colours - an extremely cunning ploy on the part of the developers as they give you just four: blue, red, yellow and black. Colour packs cost 249 coins, so the more impatient will want to buy coins rather than wait to accumulate them in dribs and drabs.
Bombs can also be purchased with coins. These are used to remove some of the letters which aren't part of the word, and this comes in particularly handy for friends who aren't great artists. There are always some spare letters, which prevents you from using online anagram solvers to figure out the answer.
Of course, there's always the option of simply writing the word instead of drawing anything. This defeats the whole object of the game, though. Unlike the traditional board game, there are no rules to speak of with Draw Something, so it's unclear whether you're allowed to, say, draw an arrow pointing at the thing you're supposed to be drawing to highlight it, or write any numbers or characters.
UPDATE: 20th April 2012
Roughly four weeks after we reviewed Draw Something, developer OMGPOP has released the promised major update to the game. So what’s new? The two features we (and most people) were looking forward to were the Undo button and the ability to save drawings. However, there’s also a new comment feature, plus sharing to Facebook and Twitter.
When you’re drawing, you can tap the new button to remove your last mark rather than having to erase it by hand. The button removes only the ‘paint’ you put down since you last lifted your finger from the screen. If it was a dot, that’s all that gets erased – not the wonky square you drew before it. It would have been nice to have had a multi-stage undo tool with at least two or three steps, but for now it’s a step in the right direction.
When you’ve finished your work of art, you can attach a comment for the other person to read after they’ve guessed your drawing. You can also add a comment after guessing their drawing: they’ll see it on the coin screen above your photo when watching you guess during their turn.
It’s a welcome feature as it saves you writing a comment on the blank canvas and then deleting it to draw your next picture – something a lot of players seemed to be doing.
Comments are limited to 100 characters and can’t be used to give clues as to the drawing since they appear only after the other player has correctly (or incorrectly) guessed the word you attempted to draw.
You need to tap the screen when prompted otherwise the game progresses to the next screen after a couple of seconds.
Draw Something is available for both iOS and Android, so the ability to save images is most useful on Android where it’s not possible to take a screenshot without installing extra software. Unfortunately, saving pictures is a feature that’s only on iOS devices for now – Android users will have to wait.
Taking a screenshot on an iPhone or iPad is simply a case of pressing the home button and sleep/wake button together. It’s a bit strange, then, that the saved image you get with Draw Something is no different than if you’d taken a screenshot, since it includes the whole Draw Something interface, not just your drawing. The image is saved to the Camera Roll just as a screenshot would be.
After adding a comment on your own drawing, you can either choose to save it, or share it via Facebook or Twitter. The image appears on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed, but you have to authorise the game to use your account to do this. Currently, sharing is available only on iOS.
One feature Android users will be pleased with is notifications. They can now be informed when another player has sent them a drawing, or nudged them to remind them to take their turn.
The maximum turn streak has been increased ten-fold from 99 to 999, and it’s possible to pull the main menu down to refresh the game list. Previously you had to wait for an automatic refresh. The developers recommend power cycling your device after installing the update to avoid any bugs.
It’s a shame that it takes such an age between turns, as the needless animation of the coin screen and ‘next turn’ screen can’t be skipped. That said, the update has made the game better and addresses a few of the criticisms we had before.