Posted by Ellis Spice on October 10th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Zynga’sWords with Friends will be hitting its fifth anniversary very soon, and to celebrate 7.7 billion games played (and many, many uses of the word “qi” over the past 1800ish days), the game has been refreshed into New Words With Friends – now with some much-requested features.
The most requested feature was Solo Play, which now makes its début in the updated version of the app. Solo play allows players to practice without an Internet connection or direct opponent, with the game adjusting to the level of the player to still provide them with a challenge.
Community Matches, meanwhile, allow players to opt-in, search through a series of profile cards, and find themselves potential new opponents to face off against. Profiles are also new, with stats including high score, number of games completed, and average word score now available to show off to both your friends and recent opponents.
New Words With Friends is available now on the App Store and is worth 99 points free to download.
While games may not be the largest percentage of apps in the App Store (non-games lead the way overwhelmingly), they are the most popular single category, with over 151,000 active games in the App Store as of this month, according to 148Apps.biz.
One could argue, and indeed I will, that games are the most transformative type of app in the App Store, bringing a quality of play to iOS devices previously impossible to achieve. As 148Apps staffers have been heard to proclaim, there are over 1.2 billion thumbs waiting to play games on these crafty little devices.
Of course, there have been landmark games since the App Store went live in 2008, titles that create, extend, and improve on the current state of the art. Here then, are the top 20 of those games, as chosen by your App Experts at 148Apps.
Doodle Jump – This one started the jumping game craze, inspiring a host of clones and imitators along the way. Angry Birds – Need we say more? The grumpy avians have taken over the public consciousness. Tiny Wings – Not just another bird game, Tiny Wings showed us how one mechanic, brilliantly executed, could take an unknown designer to untold heights.
Candy Crush Saga – Good heavens we still get a lot of invites for this casual, money-printing game. Clash of Clans – Say what you will about free to play, but this game has gotten it right. Tiny Tower – Nimblebit hit the jackpot here with a smart combination of tower building and free to play retro gaming.
Temple Run – If anyone deserved to have a huge hit, it’s the folks at Imangi Studios, who have been pushing the boundaries of quality gaming from the beginning. This one created the 3D endless runner genre at a breakneck speed! Puzzles & Dragons – Another free to play darling, this one gets all the elements right to keep players entertained and paying. Where’s My Water? – Disney’s breakout hit, with a new IP (intellectual property) and a fiendishly addictive mechanic.
Pocket God – 47 updates later, still going strong and keeping kids of all ages entertained and laughing. Minecraft Pocket Edition – The surprise PC hit the iPhone like a ton of cube-shaped bricks, letting crafters and miners of all stripe build and explore on the go. Words with Friends – Scrabble with people you know. What’s not to like? This one started the “with friends” genre with a bang. Draw Something – Super successful, super quick, leading Zynga to buy the developer for a landmark price.
Infinity Blade – This game set the bar high for utter gorgeousness and a fighting mechanic that still sees itself in current games on the App Store, some two and a half years later. Canabalt – Heard of the endless runner genre? Canabalt started it all with a one-touch game that exploded onto the scene in 2009 and has remained in the collective imagination ever since. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP – This one proves again and again that the indie spirit can be captured and distributed via mobile, with a game that may never have gotten noticed on the bigger consoles. Galaxy on Fire 2 – This space exploration and dogfighting game set the standard for utter gorgeousness, as well as finding a way to build a space sim on a tiny mobile device.
Spaceteam – Don’t forget to flush the four-stroke plucker! Wait, what? Play this game with a few of your (drinking) friends, and you’ll see what multiplayer party games *should* be like. Real Racing – Still the gold standard for racing games on a mobile platform, the original game hit the starting line in 2011, with sequels upping the ante on visuals, controls, and profitability. Super Hexagon – If you hate yourself, play this brutally difficult yet strangely compelling arcade game and thank indie developer Terry Cavanaugh in the morning.
The modern era of asynchronous multiplayer has led to not only people playing more word games, but more people flagrantly cheating at them. After all, it’s a lot easier to cheat at something when the opponent can be physically far away, or someone completely unknown. There’s no immediate repercussions. So while Scrabble clones like Words With Friends have allowed for a cottage industry of cheating apps to rise up, to turn the tide in the favor of those who wish to win by any means necessary.
The cheats are quickly evolving beyond just looking up Scrabble words online, though: they’re starting to exploit this sufficiently advanced technology that we carry around in our pockets. One Words With Friends hack for jailbroken devices actually hijacked the game to make any word playable. And one App Store app for iOS original word game Letterpress makes cheating almost too easy.
Lettercheat doesn’t do anything as malicious as hijacking a game’s rules, but it does use an impressive technological trick for unscrupulous purposes: it recognizes the game board based on a screenshot, and analyzes the letters on the board to find the best words to be played. It can even find, when available, moves that will end the game instantaneously. But the developers, who ask only for $0.99 after getting to try 2 games of cheating (piggybacking off of Letterpress’ business model), also promise something else: the ability to “Smurf” a game board by turning it all blue in the game’s default theme. Even the avatar carries this theme.
But why? Why intentionally release an app that is designed to break a competitive multiplayer game like this?
Loren Brichter, creator of Letterpress, doesn’t know. “I don’t get it. But it’s an inherent human problem, you can solve it technically or legally — capitalism promises that where there’s a want there’s a product. Maybe it’s a by-product of the competitive primordial brain overwhelming the reason why you’re competing in the first place (to have fun).”
The Lettercheat creators did not respond to a direct email as of press time, but did share their reasoning on their website and in a blog post. They say that “Lettercheat is meant to be a companion app to the Letterpress game. We’re hoping that the app can help you develop strategy skills and better understand how to win. Plus it’s a lot of fun to see an entirely blue board.”
While there will be some that use this as a fun tool, there will be those who use it to try and win, and such a tool seems difficult to conquer. And because this is a multiplayer game, there doesn’t seem to be the kind of “victimless crime” aspect and moral imperative that some players of the recent My Little Pony game have claimed as why they use a hack that reduces or eliminates the cost for expensive items in the game. However, that game is primarily a singleplayer experience, and Letterpress is meant for fun with other players, though there’s no global leaderboard for those mastering the game. If this cheat allows people to have fun with the game, and if it’s used responsibly, what harm is there?
There isn’t really a good solution for these kinds of cheats, at least from a technical perspective, either for creators or players. But there is a human one, as Loren Brichter suggests: “play with friends you trust not to cheat.”
Bored of Words with Friends? Maybe it’s time to try something a little different such as MindFeud.
MindFeud is a game in which players must lay a number of tiles down in the correct formation so that there are no duplicates and they each match with the nearest tile in some way, such as all blue tiles together or all circles in the same row. It’s easy to learn but as with many board games, it’s challenging to master.
MindFeud offers a single player mode through the robot opponent AI called ADAMA, as well as the ability to play against friends or strangers through the social features available. Real time chat has been included to make this side of play more compelling.
It’s simple yet addictive fun regardless of who you play against. Even better, it’s free to play and an universal app for added convenience.
There’s a plentiful supply of Scrabble type games on the App Store with the most popular varieties being Scrabble itself and Words With Friends. Today marks the launch of a new word game much like the aforementioned twosome, keen to make its mark on the multiplayer word construction world.
Words Play is that game. Providing an attractive and playful exterior with smiley, cartoon faces guiding the player and a colorful board, Words Play certainly has the potential to be a big hit.
The word game concept we all know and love is there. Players take turns to create words from 7 tiles then place them on the board. The board has a variety of special places that provide double or triple point scores for respective letters or even the whole word. Bonus points are given for creating a word with all the available letters on the rack. Rather usefully, there’s the addition of an in-app dictionary so that players who don’t recognize a word, can just tap on the selection and learn a bit about the term.
Words Play offers a selection of modes. There’s the head to head mode for players who want to play against a friend who’s sitting near them. Then there’s the online multiplayer functionality via the title’s Game Center support. The player can choose to be automatically matched with a random opponent or they can hook up with a friend on their Game Center friends list. For the anti social gamer, there’s also the prospect of competing against the adaptive AI player for the additional price of a $0.99 in-app purchase.
Words Play is a neat little package that’s no doubt sounding pretty appealing right now to words games fans. So readers will be excited to hear that we have 20 promo codes to give away! All you have to do is check in on our Twitter account where we’ll be giving away codes shortly. Obviously, you’re already following us but if not, we’re @148apps.
I’ve no doubt that the prospect of a spellcasting form of Words With Friends is an exciting one to any sane iOS gamer. That’s just part of what SpellCraft School of Magic is hoping to offer upon its release next month.
Gamers play a young apprentice wizard at the multiverse’s most prestigious magical university in this free to play, in-app purchase supported game. The young wizard must save their teachers from the dungeons beneath the school by nursing magical plants, brewing powerful spells and doing battle with numerous monsters using strategy and cunning. It’s going to be a potent mix of Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons with a great combination of social and roleplay gaming.
40 spells in all will be offered to help players up against over 100 different monsters. Combining card gaming tropes and other causal friendly concepts sounds like a pretty cool idea so far.
We’ll be sure to keep you up on the latest on this exciting title. For now, check out the teaser trailer and screenshots below.
Some game genres have had a rough time in their induction into the App Store (like action hack n’ slashes), but a few genres seem like they’ve been waiting for devices like the iPhone and iPad. Case in point? Word games work out perfectly with iOS. This week, we’ll showcase our Favorite Four word games.
Released ages ago in App Store years, Crosswords is the one word game to rule them all. At the high price point of $9.99, it’s a tough one to buy. We eventually just took the plunge about a year ago and the app has been well worth the cost. The reason it’s worth such a steep price (for an app) is that it’s the last crossword-related purchase anyone will ever need to make. The app is updated from a ton of free sources as well as some paid ones that require subscription info, like the New York Times. We will never run out of crossword puzzles. Our queue is a little backed up currently at 787 puzzles (and we’re not even using all of the free sources, just our favorites!). In our homescreen folder titled “Favorite Games,” Crosswords is the first app.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Games
Words with Friends
It was obvious that a Scrabble-type game had to make the cut for this Favorite Four, but choosing between Scrabble and Words with Friends was quite difficult. We decided on Words with Friends simply because more of our friends play it (it’s cross-platform). While Scrabble would seem to provide more real-life friends to play with (by linking it with the Facebook Scrabble app), it’s simply easier to play with people we know via Words with Friends.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Games
War of the Words (iPad only)
This app is a hidden gem. The app was released last year and still hasn’t had enough ratings for the App Store to display an average rating. We’re hoping that we might change things for the better with this post. War of the Words includes something that more iPad games should: players sitting across from one another. In War of the Words, when a player forms a words, the letter blocks go over to the other player. Whoever fills the other player’s side of the screen first wins. It’s a simple concept but provides some fast-paced wordy fun.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-06-29 :: Category: Games
Wheel of Fortune
We can’t leave out one of the most popular word-based game shows: The Wheel of Fortune apps are great. There are plenty of puzzles to solve and the graphics are impressive on the iPad version. Give them a try!
We’ve seen partnerships between artists and apps before, but this one is news-making in its sheer scope. Lady Gaga has recently announced a partnership with Zynga to promote her new album, Born This Way, across a number of their games, including two of its biggest hits, Words With Friends and Farmville. Thought you could escape the pop idol? Sorry, she’ll be lurking in your virtual field now, too!
The promotion starts on May 17th. Farmville players will be able to visit “GagaVille,” a new, uniquely designed neighboring farm sporting unicorns and crystals, among other things. GagaVille will allow “little monsters” (as Gaga dubs her fans) worldwide to listen to unreleased tracks from the new album. And players who buy a $25 Zynga game card from Best Buy will also be treated to a free download of the new album.
Meanwhile, Words With Friends will feature a daily “Words with Gaga” contest, which will award real-life Gaga-themed prizes, ranging from concert tickets to a signed copy of “Born This Way. ” The contests have yet to be announced, but as an example Zynga says that players who play a special word (“UNICORN,” perhaps) might be entered in a sweepstakes. Finally, special edition virtual items will also be available across other Zynga games.
“I want to celebrate and share ‘Born This Way’ with my little monsters in a special way that’s never been done before,” said Lady Gaga in a statement on Zynga’s website. “Zynga has created a magical place in FarmVille where my fans can come play, and be the first to listen to the album.”
“We’re focused on creating cool new ways to entertain and surprise our players,” said Owen Van Natta, Zynga’s executive vice president of business. “Our partnership with Lady Gaga offers many new experiences…We want to thank Lady Gaga for working with us on this truly great surprise.”
This isn’t the first time that Lady Gaga and Zynga have teamed up, however. In March, the two combined their efforts to raise over $3 million for Japan relief. Whether or not this new venture will produce similar results (albeit this time profit) remains to be seen, but I suspect that “GagaVille” will be quite the hit. At the very least, Gaga fans should find a lot here to enjoy. For more information on this newest Gaga/Zynga promotion blitz, check out the website dedicated to the event.
The App Hall of Fame (the original App Hall of Fame, not the Apple knock off) is an independent initiative launched by 148Apps that includes selection committee members from over 40 web and print publications.
Our goal is to archive the very best mobile apps by honoring only 12 applications per month. To be eligible, applications must be available for download from the App Store for at least 6 months. Applications are nominated and voted on monthly by the selection committee with the applications that get the most votes being inducted into the hall of fame.
We want you to join in on the celebration. We’ll be giving away copies of the newly inducted applications to subscribers of our mailing list later this week. Subscribe now for a chance to win.
As the year winds down and we look ahead to the next decade it’s time for all those wonderful end-of-year lists we all get so excited about. Today we have some exciting news, as Apple has detailed all the top paid and free apps for the iPhone and iPad, as well as the top grossing apps on each platform. Here’s the full rundown, for your edification.
In the least clever pun we could think of Zynga has got themselves a new toy by announcing today that they have acquired Newtoy Studios. Newtoy is most famous for producing Words with Friends, Chess with Friends, and We Rule for ngmoco:). While Zynga is of course the company which brought us Farmville. Newtoy has been rebranded Zynga with Friends and will continue working out of their Texas-based headquarters.
The new entity will also retain the same management, with Newtoy CEO and co-founder Paul Bettner assuming the role of VP and GM of the Zynga With Friends studio. “We’re reinventing the way people are social on their mobile devices,” Bettner. “The Zynga With Friends studio will build on the Newtoy legacy of creating approachable, highly social games that are accessible to anyone from anywhere.” His brother and co-founder, David will be working as studio director, and Michael Chow will continue his role as director of operations. So it would seem that the day-to-day work around the office will remain pretty much in place and all the familiar faces will stay in place, all that’s changing is the sign on the door. That’s all probably for the best, as there’s no reason to mess up a good thing.
So what is Zynga planning to do with the new Zynga with Friends studio? No specific plans were set but Mark Pincus, founder and CEO said, “The Games With Friends franchise is the best social game experience available on mobile today and we are excited to welcome the Newtoy team to the Zynga family. The Zynga With Friends Studio will continue to invent great mobile social game experiences for Zynga users everywhere.”
Of course we’ll keep you posted of any news coming out of the Zynga with Friends studio, but for now we’ll just say congrats to both companies and best of luck.
Carter speaks with One Man Left’s Adam Stewart and Alex Okafor about the upcoming Tilt to Live HD, and how they adapted the game from the iPhone to the iPad, including a reworking of the Gauntlet mode. Tangents are also gone off upon.
Carter speaks with Vijay Thakkar, Technical Director at Newtoy, talking about the challenges of working with server-based architecture with their games, and he sets the record straight about any alleged cheating anyone might have done in Words With Friends.
Who Are We:
Host: Carter Dotson
Guests: Alex Okafor and Adam Stewart, One Man Left
Update 5/8: Wow! What a great response. Over 300 of you joined us in playing Words With Friends. Of the 20+ games I’ve got going, I’m losing most of them. No big surprise there! As mentioned below, we picked a winner, emailed them and once they respond we’ll send them the $15 iTunes gift card. Check back later for another Weekend Fun post about another multiplayer game and a $15 iTunes gift card winner.
Last week, we kicked off our Weekend Fun series with We Rule. 99 of you joined us to build our kingdoms to new levels. We’ve announced the winner of last weekends $15 iTunes gift card on that page and emailed the winner. This week, it’s time to step it up a notch and start to exercise our vocabularies a little.
Words With Friends is our Weekend Fun contest for this week. If you aren’t familiar with Words With Friends, it’s a multiplayer Scrabble type game. What makes it work so well on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (with HD version), is that you play it at your own pace. Once you play your move, the control passes to the other player who will play at their own pace.
Want to play Words With Friends? The cheapest way is to download the free version (link below), set up an account, and get started. From there you can initiate a game with someone you know, or have the game pick a random player for you. If you are looking for opponents, please add your username in the comments below and I’m sure someone will be more than happy to challenge you! Feel free to challenge me if you feel like winning (jeff148apps) — I have about a 3rd grade vocabulary. (and yes, vocabulary is the largest word I know how to spell)
We’ll pick a random player to win a $15 iTunes gift card (for the US iTunes Store) — all you have to do to win is leave your Words With Friends id (not email address) in the comments below.
Words With Friends is a multiplayer Scrabble-type word game currently available on the iPhone. Info came in last night that Newtoy will be releasing Words With Friends HD on the iPad at launch. Newtoy were kind enough to send us over some screen shots. Take a look at those below. No amazing new features announced, just the same great multiplayer game we know and love, but easier to play on the larger iPad screen.
Newtoy let us know that they will also be hanging out with fans at the Stonebriar Mall in Fricso, TX this Saturday from 9am-Noon to celebrate the Words With Friends HD and iPad release. (Hint: They’ll have free t-shirts and Words With Friends HD promo codes!)
Words With Friends is streamlined and elegant, and the user pool is just as speedy as the app itself. This is a must-have for Scrabble fans. It might lack features, but the Push notifications and the speed of the app itself make it my new Scrabble app of choice.