Version Reviewed: 4.10
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
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Social game developer Zynga has done it again. They've applied their unique brand of simple, connected, asynchronous, head-to-head gameplay to another popular casual gaming genre and made a game that players will be launching dozens (if not hundreds) of times a day. Matching With Friends is Zynga's new With Friends title, and it takes the humble block matching game and makes it both competitive and social. Players take turns placing blocks in an attempt to match the most blocks possible during their turn and rack up a higher score than their opponent.
Matching With Friends has very simple gameplay. Each game has two players and on each turn each player has three, three-block long pieces that they can place on the board. Using these blocks, they must create matching groups of three or more similarly colored blocks. Once the player has placed their blocks they end their turn their scores are tallied, their matched blocks are cleared, and it is the other player's turn to play. As with other asynchronous play titles, players don't have to keep the app open or their device on when it's not their turn. They will be notified by the app when their opponent is finished with their turn and it is time to make another move.
The premise of the game is simple, but special bombs, multipliers, and permanent wild card blocks bring a lot of strategy to the mix. This gives players lots of options for scoring more points and forces them to think creatively instead of just matching colors turn after turn.
This game is simple to play and easy to enjoy. It may even be one of the simplest that Zynga has released. That said, the turn by turn play is perfect for the iPhone and players can take their turns whenever and wherever they find themselves with a minute or two to spare. Fans of the With Friends series of game should definitely give it a try. There's even a free, ad supported version if players want to save a few bucks.