Draw Something, the seemingly overnight sensation from recent $210 million Zynga acquisition OMGPOP, is a very simple concept that, if you ask me, spiralled out of the fact that somebody once sat down and invented the word drawsome. Well, that and Pictionary.
To say it's a simple isn't intended to cheapen it, however - this is a game that works precisely because it's minimalistic, ensuring your focus is always on the drawings rather than a laboured set of unnecessary mechanics. And, sure, it tells you you're drawsome when you get something right. Drawsome.
Rounds ping pong between two players, with the drawer choosing from a list of three words (tiered into easy, medium, and hard difficulties) and the drawee waiting for their chance to guess. It's all done asynchronously, too, meaning the application icon sits quietly in the corner of the screen next to other tempting life distractions such as Twitter and Mail. Once the player receiving the drawing has correctly guessed what it's supposed to be, the whole thing gets flipped and it's their turn to draw, well, something.
There's a very basic scoring system in place to ensure everything ticks over, and you can spend your amassed riches on either packs of new colours, or on bombs that can either reshuffle your list of words to draw or remove some letters on the board when it's your turn to guess. There's a basic tally system, but it doesn't really affect how you play the game.
It does, however, affect how you talk about it. Wasn't it guff when Andy ruined the game on, like, the eighth turn, but wasn't it amazing when your game with Neon went on for hundreds of rounds. Draw Something is all about fostering a connection between two players, telling silly stories with your drawings and opting to draw a picture of some mountains alongside a pair of breasts because you hope your partner will understand that you're trying to make an obscure Shakira reference.
The real treat is that drawings don't arrive fully-formed, but are instead assembled, stroke by stroke, while you watch. It's this exact same sense of inspection that turns Pictionary into a fun party game, because it's almost always more entertaining to watch the image in creation than it is to guess what it is, and OMGPOP is shrewd enough to capitalise on such canny emotion to great effect. Try starting a game with a stranger and writing hello before you draw your picture; the results can be great. Keep going down that path, though, and I imagine the game will end up as a hideous conduit for nefarious ChatRoulette antics - keep it civil, okay?
It's possible to cheat, of course, and just write what the other player is supposed to be getting. But what on Earth would be the point? The rewards are minimal, and grinding for coins seems completely irrelevant. There's no real set of victory conditions, and there's no leaderboards you can grind your way up.
The thing is, Draw Something isn't about the game you're playing, but about the friends you're playing with. It's a very basic game, then, but the fact it's a game comes second to the fact it's a laugh.
Version Tested: iPhone