The great thing about Scrabble is that no two games can ever be alike.
With the Oxford English Dictionary estimating a quarter of a million words in the English language and the game's rules dictating a random selection of letters each turn, chances for a repeat game are next to nil.
It's what makes Scrabble so much fun, and this well-constructed iPad version does a good job of letting that dynamic gameplay shine despite the omission of a key feature.
Unsurprisingly, iPad is an ideal home for Scrabble given its large screen. The extra space makes it very easy to manipulate tiles on the board, which has been expanded to fill much of the screen in contrast to the smaller iPhone and iPod touch version. While there's nothing wrong with the interface in latter, it's more enjoyable here in greater scale on iPad.
The larger screen has a more profound impact on the way Scrabble is played since it makes multiplayer attractive. Online play through Facebook ensures cross-platform access to competition, but it's the option to pass around the device or set it on a table top for a live session with friends that gives the game a unique appeal.
You can always argue that the physical boardgame is preferable, but there's no question that the design of this iPad version succeeds in a way that no previous portable version has ever before.
One highly original feature lets you use an iPhone or iPod touch as a virtual tile rack. By downloading a free copy of Scrabble Tile Rack, you can sync via Bluetooth or wi-fi with the game and use your handset to arrange letters and look up words in the embedded dictionary.
Cleverly, you can rotate the board on your iPad via the Tile Rack app so as to avoid physically turning the device to see the board.
It sounds like a gimmick, yet it's surprisingly fun to use. Minor connection problems did put a downer on the experience, but it's neat nonetheless.
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Having the option to refernce the dictionary from your digital tile rack is definitely a plus, though you're unable to amend it with new words. It's the game's biggest oversight and one that is restrictive, albeit infrequently.
Online play via Facebook is a great feature, but opening up multiplayer to allow competition just between iPad users without requiring Facebook sign-in would be ideal.
Even without this option, Scrabble remains thoroughly playable, particularly with a group of friends, thanks to well-designed local multiplayer options and clever connectivity with iPhone and iPod touch.