To preface this review, I have to say I am just a little biased. I mean, a FREE scrabble-ish game created jointly by one of my favorite app developers and one of my favorite therapy material resources, and specifically for nerdy speech sound geeks like myself? You have to give me a little leeway here – I get a little giddy about how fun this is. But I’ll try to be as objective as possible in this review, even though I know you’ll like it.
Price: FREE! Or $1.99 for the ad-free upgrade.
How It Works: Create your account with a username/password or your Facebook login. (I use Facebook personally.) Then find friends (through Facebook or email invite) and start playing! It’s set up similarly to any Scrabble app (e.g., Words with Friends), but instead of letters you have IPA phonemes, or phonics sounds if you prefer. Having the phonics option means that even if you or your friends don’t happen to have SLP or linguist backgrounds, you can still play. It’s definitely a unique challenge compared to letter-based Scrabble. If you’re unsure of a word’s composition, you can search it in their Look Up feature. After you’ve built a word and submitted it, the app automatically determines if it’s a real word and how many points it gets. However, if you and your friends use a dialect other than Standard North American English and the app denies a word as being real even though that’s how you and the other player would pronounce it, there is an Appeal feature as well. There is a short version of the game where you just play ’til the first person reaches 200 points, and then there is a long version where you play until all the tiles are gone.
Therapy Applications: This app is a great way to network in a fun, non-work way with other speechie/soundie nerds like yourself. It’s also fantastic for brushing up on your IPA skills. Additionally, it is an amazing tool for SLP-to-be! Think of how awesome this would have been when you were trying to learn IPA in your freshman year Phonetics class?! Or when you were trying to re-learn it in your grad school Artic/Phono class? …Or maybe when you re-re-learned it for the PRAXIS? 😉 Really though, this is just a super fun app that anyone could use, regardless of any speech-related background.
Pros: 1. Price! Free is always great, and $1.99 for ad-free is more than reasonable.
2. Fun! And interactive!
3. Intuitive. Super easy to use and the layout will be familiar to anyone who has played physical or app-based Scrabble games.
4. The features are simple but great. It’s quite helpful being able to quickly switch between IPA and phonics, look up words, appeal words to account for dialectal differences, and play short vs full games.
Cons: 1. The developers are still in the process of adding in a chat feature, which will be so great for asking each other questions (e.g., if you want to explain why you’re appealing a word or why you denied an appeal). In the meantime, there is this fun Facebook group so players can have discussions with each other in one central place.
2. It’s not (yet?) available for Android. So, since I just have an iPad, I end up not playing as much as I’d like to. This is one of the few, few times I wish I had an iPhone vs my Android!!!
The Take-Away: If you have any interest whatsoever in playing sound-based Scrabble with a fun-loving, nerdy group of people, download it! It’s incredibly fun and it’s free (or super cheap for ad-free), so how can you go wrong?!
My Questions for You: Are you a speechie, teacher, linguist, or…? What do you love about this game and what do you wish the developers would add?
Looking for more expert reviews of this app? Check it out on YappGuru.com!
Disclosure: I beta tested this app for Tactus Therapy and LessonPix. I was not compensated in any way for the review, and they were aware that I would be discussing the app’s strengths and weaknesses.