Developer: Yushino, LLC
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 2.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Playtime: Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Developers trying to put a twist on the Words With Friends formula of an asynchronous multiplayer game based off of Scrabble have always had one constant: words. It’s always about forming words in new ways, on different boards, sometimes even in different languages. But it’s always about words. Well, there’s one true universal language, and that’s numbers. That’s where Yushino comes in. It’s Words With Friends but with numbers, and it works extremely well.

So how does one play with numbers instead of letters? Simple, by forming addition sequences. With two adjacent tiles, the next one has to be the sum of the two numbers. If the sum of the two numbers are greater than ten, then it just has to be the ones digit of that number. So, 932 is a valid sequence, because 9+3=12. Then, the next tile in the sequence would have to be 5. Players can’t just lay down tiles all will-nilly because they just so happen to add up; sometimes a player’s set of number tiles will be incompatible with a good score on the board. Each tile is worth exactly the number on the tile.

The clever thing about the game is the way that even though 10 numbers are used, there’s still a depth to it. Eventually, common patterns start to become apparent, where astute players can detect key sequences on the board and take advantage of them for high-scoring plays based on their tiles. Forming sequences out of numbers isn’t something that’s immediately obvious, but a little bit of practice will make everything make sense. The other advantage to using numbers instead of letters? There are no situations where knowing obscure and sketchy words like “Qi” come in handy. Everyone’s on a level playing field, it’s all about strategy. It’s almost more fun that way. The game is free to play, with the ability to buy coins that can be spent to find out what percentage of the maximum score a pending move will be.

The only issues come with the app itself at the moment. The app is not optimized for iPhone 5 or iPad. Sound doesn’t play with push notifications. Zooming in reveals some low-resolution graphics. Occasional glitches pop up where tiles can’t be laid down properly without quitting the app and clearing it out of the multitasking bar. These are all issues that can be addressed, though.

I’ve fallen out of the loop on many asynchronous multiplayer games, but Yushino in particular has the right equation to get in my heart. Check this game out. It also syncs up perfectly with the Facebook version of the game which has just released.

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