Review: Draw Something. Taking over your life, one smiley stickman at a time.

Cancel life, you don’t need it anymore.

Dear Thumb Culture readers,

I have a confession to make. Over the last two weeks I have been subjected to my own personal, hellish addiction. While my Xbox 360 stares at me lovingly, wondering why it hasn’t had a look in recently while ‘Street Fighter x Tekken’, ‘Catherine’ and ‘Mass Effect 3′ sit on the shelf gathering dust, I need to take a step back here. You see, I’ve been consumed. Blindingly so, in fact. Perhaps more blinded than by anything else I can ever think of. You see, I’ve become addicted to the one thing my Mother told me was bad for me – being the bloody same as everyone else. Yes, I downloaded ‘Draw Something’ and yes, I’m insurmountably, completely and exasperatingly obsessed.

It’s not that the game itself is exciting, demanding or particularly stressful. Nor is it built that well, really – there are serious bugs with the current build and needs a thorough looking over for the next update. Lastly, when you’re perplexed with the notion of having to draw a picture where you have no real idea of what it’s meant to look like, you don’t really get much help, if any at all. If you’ve chosen a certain word, you’re on your own folks.

So, what is it about ‘Draw Something’ that makes it so fantastically fun? It’s quite simple really, you play it TOGETHER.

Now, no matter how stupid, pretentious and ‘Nintendo Wii’ that sounds, it’s true. Being able to play a game such as this with your friends, over a mobile network or over WiFi makes this game exactly what it is. Yes, you can play with randomers should you so choose (or if you have no friends, of course. Sadface.), however the connection just isn’t the same. You don’t feel the same sense of victory or humiliation playing against somebody you don’t know, and this game is all about rubbing it in the face of your nearest and dearest while the game brilliantly records them struggling with your picture over a period of time, calculating any number of letter combinations the picture could possibly relate too. I can honestly say now just yesterday I sent my friend a picture of a ninja. For this, all he has to do is write ‘Ninja’ in the letter boxes available once he’s worked it out to get to the next round. I was watching back his atrocious attempt for the best part of twelve minutes. Now, anybody who has played the game knows this is a crushingly long time to be working out a picture, not least because in the back of your mind you know that the person who created said picture is going to be watching it back once your answer is returned, knowing they’re going to basque in your embarrassment.

You see for this reason, there’s nothing quite like ‘Draw Something’. If you’re one of the eight people on the planet who hasn’t yet had a go, allow me to tell you all about it.

You start the game giving you an option whether you would like to sign up to a ‘DS’ account or just link the game too your trusty Facebook account. If you do the latter, the game will then hook you up with everyone on your friends list who is already playing the game and will continue to do so as you play on. Touching a friends name or profile pic will kick off a game between you two, you’ve administered the battle so you go first. You’re giving a choice of three words to choose from each on an Easy, Medium or Hard level, with each level worth more coins (one for Easy, two for Medium, three for Hard) which you can then spend on more colours or bombs, but more on this later. Once you’ve selected your word to play you’re presented with a pallet, an open screen and four colours, namely black, yellow, red and blue. At the bottom of the screen you’ll see a pen on the left which can determine its size, useful depending on what drawing you have to do, along with an eraser and a trashcan if you want to start over. There’s a thwacking great big ‘Done’ button to the right which can get pressed accidently, however the game will confirm you want to send your drawing before you do, so if you do press ‘Done’ before you’re complete, you don’t have to worry about it posting.

From there, it’s all yours. Everything is there in front of you to create something extraordinary. It really is up to you how easy or difficult you want to make it for your opponent – do you want to see how many rounds you can take the game or are you wanting to destroy your opponents with your Van Gogh masterpieces? You have the choice.

Once your opponent has completed your first drawing, they’ll send you one back and you’ll get a little notification explaining your friend laughed in your face and easily sailed past your orange shaped picture of a banana (on iOS at least, Android weirdly hasn’t got push notifications yet). Once you’re back in, you’ll see a green ‘play’ button next to your friends name and you can watch as they attempt to figure out what you’ve drawn. If they do, you’ll get a DRAWSOME screen and move onto their drawing. Here the GUI is slightly different. The center stays the same however now you’re looking at your opponents screen, so instead of the pen, eraser and the trashcan you now have a selection of letters and boxes to place them in. Within those ten letters lies the answer, so it’s up to you to find them once you figure out what the drawing is. Once you do, you’ll get another DRAWSOME screen and you’ll be back to your original creation page. If you don’t, however, you get a grey ‘GOOD TRY’ screen, and the battle will return back to the first round. Soul crushing stuff, I’m telling you. You thought ‘Heavy Rain’ was hard going? Wait until you get to Round 65 and then your friend can’t figure out your picture. Oh, it’s hard hitting.

There genuinely is so much to love about ‘Draw Something’, from everything I’ve explained above to so much more. However, there are occasions it can get frustrating. As I said early on, there are plenty of bugs in the game and a fair few missed opportunities. I’ve had a couple of games where the letters just aren’t available for the word, or just aren’t there at all. I had a game only yesterday where a friend drew an apple. It was clearly an apple, I even checked with him that it was an apple, however I only had one ‘p’ and no ‘e’, to complete the round. Therefore, I had to pass the round and we started over again. Very frustrating after you’ve had a decent run of victories between you both. Another one I’ve picked up on is the occasional waiting times between games. Nine times out of ten you can just straight in, however sometimes you’re left to wait for at least TWO MINUTES (#firstworldproblems) before the game begins. I have no idea why this happens, and the game seems to do it completely at random. It’s not the end of the world, but it is a pain when you have a ton of games on the go at once and just want to get through them all.

These are just little bugs that will be ironed out I’m sure in the future, as there are plenty of updates the game needs to compete properly, despite its already overwhelming popularity. Firstly, why u no push notifications on Android? Annoying. Secondly, bombs. Bombs are great, and can really help you out when you’re in a jam, getting rid of plenty of letters and just leaving you with the ones you need. But seriously? 400 coins just for ten? You really have to pound this game to get any bonuses from it. Maybe I’m just being lazy. Thirdly, leaderboards/achievements would be a welcome addition. I’m not of the mind that every game these days needs achievements, but a game like this would certainly benefit from them. Just sayin’. Lastly, when you’re completely stuck on a picture and you can’t see any words within the letters you’ve been presented, the logical safe way out of this predicament is to ask the friend you’re playing what on earth they’ve just concocted before you. To do this, you have to come out of the game, which kinda blows. Live chat or a simple messaging service would be fantastic. It could open up the game to cheating somewhat, however I’m sure the masses who play this game would welcome such a feature. I’m all for it.

I’m have a bloody great time with ‘Draw Something’. Yes, bugs need to be ironed out but like I said, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed in future updates. You can add another star to the final score once they’ve been taken care of.

It’s free or 69p on the App Store or 62p on Google Play for Android, again with a free version. Get on it. You know you want too.

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