Nearly two years ago, we gave a lot of love to a simple and elegantly designed game called Charadium. It was a perfect blend of Pictionary and Charades that offered an addictive and enjoyable experience on many levels. Now a shiny new version has hit the App Store to warm the hearts of social gamers everywhere, so we gave Charadium II a spin to explore what’s new and different this time around.
For those of you unfamiliar with the original, it was a game of guessing and drawing. Over 15 rounds with a group of competitors, you earned points for drawing images based on words given to you by the game, or by guessing other people’s words based on their images. Your point total per round depended on how fast the right answer was submitted, all maintained on a simple scoreboard that flashed between rounds. In many ways, Charadium was a one trick pony. You either guessed answers or drew pictures. However, the execution was essentially flawless.
The biggest addition to Charadium II are two new modes to supplement the original mode detailed above. The first mode we’ll dig into is King Of The Hill. Instead of a round-robin and democratic way to take turns drawing, you earn the right to draw depending on your score total. In short, we love this approach. The competitive juices go up a notch and you’re fighting to be at the top of the leaderboard.
The next mode is called Ping Pong, and it’s basically Charadium without the immediate edge you get from playing live competition. Much like playing Words With Friends, you play against people in an asynchronous way allowing competition to be waged at your own pace. In our experience, the Charadium community is very invested in this mode. We’re seeing some exceptionally drawn pictures that show a great level of detail and skill. In Ping Pong, you and the group of random opponents or friends draw images and guess on each other’s images while they guess on yours. The same rules apply with time bonuses and penalties being in, but again, it’s at your own pace. Once everyone has taken their stab at that round of images, the group moves on to the next assigned terms. Between rounds, you can chat it up in the lobby to kill time.
Mechanically speaking, Charadium II has added a whole suite of editing tools to draw assigned words in a more exact and interesting way. Now spray paint, paint brushes, and markers are available with a full color gamut. Many of the terms require using multiple colors and brushes, so people playing the free version will be at a distinct disadvantage since the tools are locked behind the pay wall. We also liked the nice touch of integrating the voice recognition feature on our iPhone 4S devices. Just a tap of the microphone brings up the voice recognition and it works perfectly. Not a real practical option in live competition, but it’s completely viable in Ping Pong, for example.
The Plus+ network is the social platform used in the original version and we’re pleased to see Charadium II makes the move to Facebook to link in your friends; it just makes sense. There aren’t any achievements or anything extra using Game Center, but that is always something that could be added later. Under your profile, there is advanced stat tracking to see how well you’re doing and what tools you’re using most.
We’re very pleased with the new additions that were made to an already excellent game. With added depth, modes, and the same brilliant hooks to encourage community activity, you would be doing your iOS device a disservice by passing on Charadium II.