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Depict – Review

January 30, 2010

Depict is the go-to multiplayer pictionary-esque game with its impressive polish and execution. At free, it is a no-brainer grab from the app store however its success still lies in whether it has the ability to rake in constant players, which it doesn’t at the moment.

Depict by Makeshift Games,  is like a drawing and guessing game that was released in December last year. Initially priced at 99c, it has now been changed to a free game with 2 in-game upgrades, a custom avatar maker and a lightning round mode, both priced at 99c each.

The game is pixel styled, giving you a retro-feel while playing the game. I really enjoyed the design and polish of the game because of the pixel style. How cool is drawing in pixels? Things look differently when it is drawn in pixels and the outcome comes out fresh to the user. I personally find my horrible drawings more forgivable in pixels too. How the game plays is that each user gets to draw once and is given one word from a list of words, the user is to draw it out and getting the other players to guess correctly. If the user is not drawing, he will be guessing what the other users are drawing and selecting what he think is the most likely choice. It is not easy though, as some words are so closely linked either in definition or drawing that it challenges both the drawer and guesser to draw intelligently and guess intelligently .

Now WTF is a friar?” – I drew a picture of McDonald’s Fries for this and people actually managed to guess it 😛

“The guessing mode” – Note that some words when drawn can come out similar so both the drawer and guesser needs to think smart!

The game is OpenFeint enabled, and if you have an account prior to this, you can essentially start playing in a matter of seconds after launching the game, which I find it a strong point of a good multiplayer game. There is no need to find rooms or the likes, as the system enters you automatically into one room. If you don’t have an OpenFeint account yet, you will be assigned a Guest user and can start playing immediately too. You can convert to a full-fledged account when time permits. Adding your new-found drawing buddies is also a breeze as you can add them in-game, and it links to their OF account too!

When you enter into a game, it will more often be started already, and you will enter in the next round. There are 5 rounds in each game, and restarts constantly after each game ends. Some people might be put off by not playing from round 1 because they would not be able to be the highest scorer by the end of the game. But asides from seeing your name on top after the end of 5 rounds and getting a slightly bigger e-penis, there is really no other benefits from finishing on the top. The lack of such a distinction creates a more relaxed environment for the game, giving players more enjoyment in the game. You score points by guessing correctly the fastest and also for drawing accurately (which is judged by how many people guessing your picture correctly). The points are accumulated at the end of each game, giving you a total. Again, the total is never really revealed to anyone else, giving the relaxed environment I was talking about earlier. The achievements the developers put in gives the game more fun and replayability. Examples of  some achievements include guessing 20 times correctly in a row, scoring 1500 points total, people giving you favorites for your drawing etc.

The core game is largely unaffected by the in-game upgrades and it does not feel like a freemium model some games are adopting, that is to offer a bit of levels to entice the user and then selling additional levels. Essentially, the in-game upgrades serve as extensions to enhance your gameplay experience. Users would not feel that they are not playing a fully-fledged game if they do not buy the in-game extras. And oh, there is no ads too, in case you were wondering.

One major gripe about this game is that there is a lack of players usually, at least at my timezone. It ranges from 5 players to 15 players online at once, give and take a few players AFK-ing, many of times you would not play in a full 5-user game but instead play with lesser players. It is fine though, given the relaxed nature of the game, but certainly I would love to see more full games and players around. A multiplayer game’s success can be measured by the number of people playing, and for now, Depict does not have players playing the game to make it a success. Imagine a scenario where you hope to play a good game, and in one room you enter there is a douche who keeps drawing out the words, you leave and try to enter another, only to find out that the other room only has 1 player – there goes one good game experience, hampered by lousy players and the lack of players.

Clearly this game is full of merits and I would strongly recommend it to all users to at least try it out, even if drawing is not your thing. It is a great casual pick-me-and-play game, and the fact that you can start playing in a matter of seconds with other people gives me more reasons to recommend it to everybody.  It is perfect for that 5 minute break! However, the game is currently hampered by the lack of users. I certainly hope more people will notice this hidden gem in the app store and make this game a success. I find it sad to see a great polished and well-executed game not do well because people do not notice it!

– Smooth gameplay experience and execution

– Great design and art-style

– Perfect for the 5 minute break

– Lack of players in a multiplayer game?!

Depict is the go-to multiplayer pictionary-esque game with its impressive polish and execution. At free, it is a no-brainer grab from the app store however its success still lies in whether it has the ability to rake in constant players, which it doesn’t at the moment.

Depict: The Multiplayer Drawing and Guessing Game (Version reviewed: 1.2; Price at review: FREE!)

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