WordTag (iOS)

November 8th, 2012 by

Genre: Social Word Game
Players: 2 online
Progress: Reached level 13

Social games and word games on iOS are a dime a dozen. Social word games? Maybe a dime per a dozen and a half. Juxta Labs' WordTag is one of the more recent entries into the social word game fray and promises to be like the popular app Draw Something except with words instead of pictures.  Does it do enough to differentiate itself from the crowd or does it fall by the wayside as so many other apps often do? Read on to see what we think about WordTag.

I was pretty interested when I first read about WordTag because I fancy myself to be pretty good with words.  Better at least than I am with my constantly embarrassingly bad drawing in games like Draw Something.  So, I took it for a test drive over the last week or so and had quite a good time.

The basic idea of WordTag is that you are given a choice of three words of certain coin value and you try to describe them without using a certain set of words that would help you the most.  For example, you could try to get your partner to guess the word hot-tub without using the words relax, warm, water, steam, bath or soak (or words that incorporate them like "bathe").  And end up with something like "a large indoor or outdoor basin filled with more than tepid liquid that people sit in for recreational purposes".  In this sense, it's very much like Draw Something, but it engages a different type of creativity that I am more attuned to, so I'd have to say I generally had a better time than with its spiritual predecessor.

Draw Something, a media darling not more than a couple of months ago, has largely petered out (much to Zynga's chagrin) as new and better things have come along and one of the apps stepping up to fill its space in our social phone lives is WordTag.  It's hard to say exactly what it was that made Draw Something become so tiresome after a few weeks, but Juxta Labs has at least taken some measures to attempt to prevent the same thing happening to WordTag.

For your $1.99 you get a handful of each item that helps you both guess and give clues to words such as one that will reveal all of the vowels or the first/last letter in the word you are guessing or one that can unlock one of the restricted words to either assist in your guessing or make writing your description a lot easier.  What I didn't appreciate, though, was the ever-present microtransactions that bare their ugly faces far too often in premium games these days.  Since you only start off with a few of these items, you burn through them quickly and are soon more or less required to purchase additional in-game currency (aside from the pittance you make from correctly guessing words) to obtain more of these items if you happen to require any extra assistance while playing.

Some of the other extra things that Juxta Labs incorporated into the game include badges you can earn (but apparently not show off to people you don't know) for selecting words from certain sets and increased coin payouts when you get on significant sized runs of correct guesses.  The things that prevent these elements from truly making WordTag a AAA iOS game, though, basically come down to poor execution: there's a "SV Bloggers" badge for getting people to guess the last names of famous bloggers, none of whom I've ever even remotely heard of, many of the badges require you to correctly use 20+ specific words that can only be unlocked for play by using another quickly spent item and are therefore impossible to get through regular play, I couldn't tell if others (even Facebook friends) could see your profile with the badges you've earned, and by default if you use Facebook to sign into WordTag it spams your feed with every word you describe and guess without telling you openly or giving you the option to disable it.

While I do have a good number of complaints with how it operates in its current version, the app overall is fairly slick and works well in most circumstances.  I had a lot of fun "using my words" to describe things in a roundabout way.  If you have $2 kicking around, you could certainly do worse than WordTag, and if you have a lot of Facebook friends that are good with words, there's a decent degree of entertainment to be had describing, guessing and earning coins.

  • A lot like Draw Something, but with a restricted word set instead of drawing
  • Has many additional bells and whistles including achievable badges and items to assist in play
  • Good presentation and generally functional app overall
  • Has fairly prevalent microtransactions even though it costs $1.99
  • Many of the badges are near impossible to earn and can't really be shown off

 

Rated 7.0

A review copy of this game was provided to us by its publisher.