It’s been a big week for Ngmoco. Not only have they been acquired by DeNA for a hefty $400 million, but they’ve also released We Doodle for iPhone and iPad, a game that’s very much like online Pictionary.
But, you may be saying, they already have Charadium, which is basically the same thing! Not anymore, they don’t. What they’ve done is removed Charadium from the App Store, grafted on freemium elements, dipped it in synergy, and re-released it as We Doodle to go along with their other “We” games.
So what you get is the whole Charadium experience (which was already phenomenal), plus a ton of extra goodies to keep you coming back for more. You can still play real-time multiplayer matches, both local and online, where a group of people take turns drawing the words they’re given and guessing as other people draw. But now there’s also a turn-based mode, which is a tweaked version of the game that you can play with friends or random people without everyone online at the same time. This is great, because no one has to rearrange their schedule to play. You can take your turn, eat dinner, watch The Event, and then check back to see if your buddies have gone yet.
The new freemium aspects of the game do what all successful freemium games do: reward you for playing. Now you level up as you play, which earns you coins and unlocks new items in the shop, like pencils, colors, stencils, and canvases. All shop items cost coins– some cost outrageous amounts– but none of them are necessary to enjoy or succeed at the game. As with all Ngmoco freemium games, you can buy coins with real money to stock up your inventory quickly.
Another addition is Doodle Assist, an optional drawing effect that automatically tidies up your lines and adds shading while you draw. It works very well on some drawings, making it appear that you have far more artistic talent than you actually do. Sometimes, though, it just makes your drawings look creepy.
One last thing: The game has ads. Big, annoying, full-screen ads. These pop up between turns, and to get past them you have to wait several seconds, then tap into a menu and press the “skip” button, which is right below the “show me more” button. Thankfully, if you have $4.99 to burn, you can get rid of them.
We loved Charadium, so it goes without saying that we love We Doodle. It has everything Charadium had and then some. Of course, people can and will complain about the freemium aspects of the game, but those are totally optional. The game is free, so if you have a hint of artistic ability be sure to give it a shot. We’ll see you at the drawing board.